Prescott admits he’s a Fuifui fan

Paul Prescott playing for Leigh in 2006
Paul Prescott playing for Leigh in 2006

PAUL Prescott says he can’t wait to see how Fuifui Moimoi fits in at Leigh Centurions ahead of Sunday’s friendly against Wigan at the Sports Village.

The warm-up game doubles as a testimonial for former Wigan prop Prescott who had to retire from playing because of a back injury.

Prescott spent time at Leigh on loan in 2006 and has been impressed with the progress of Paul Rowley’s side who were last year crowned Kingstone Press Championship Champions.

“Leigh are a good team to play, because they’re on the crest of a wave, he said. “They’ve got new signings, and for them there’s an excitement about the new structure.”

Prescott graduated from Wigan’s academy system and debuted in 2004 as a teenager. He many steady progress over the years – including that loan spell at Leigh – culminating in the Grand Final in 2010 and a Challenge Cup victory the following year. He made just one appearance in 2013 before being forced to retire due to a back injury, aged just 27.

“I’m really interested in seeing how Fuifui goes,” said Prescott. “Growing up, he was a player I admired and wanted to play against – I never got that opportunity – and he’ll want to prove to fans over here that he’s still got it.

“This will probably be the biggest test of the year for him, and with the expectations, I’m sure he’ll feed on the atmosphere and – on the other side – Wigan will rise to that.”

Recent pre-season friendlies against Leigh have often been with younger Wigan sides, but Shaun Wane is planning a more experienced line-up this time out.

Centurions lost just two games last year – and one of those was to eventual champions Leeds in the Challenge Cup – as they stormed to Championship glory.

Prescott is now employed by the Premier League, and travels up and down the country to work with academies on young players’ education and development. He is a great example of the benefits from studying while playing – he completed a law degree early in his Wigan career.

“It’s a really important issue, especially in rugby league, where the chances of players retiring early are getting greater and players don’t earn the money to retire when their playing careers are over,” he said.

“If you’ve got something lined up, the transition is still difficult – but it makes it easier than having no options.

“I love the job I do now, it’s challenging and rewarding. But like most ex-professionals, I’d be lying if I said there weren’t occasions when I watch Wigan and think, ‘I’d love to be out there playing’.”