JACK Wells cannot wait to complete the journey from starstruck young season ticket holder to following in the footsteps of the players he cheered.
And his desire to be a rugby league player was really lit by a touchline verbal skirmish.
Wells grew up yards from Salford’s old Willows home and was a season ticket holder for the best part of 10 years in the Family Stand.
Now after leaving Wigan, he is a Red Devil and cannot wait to start impressing supporters, including dad Tim, brother Dan and plenty of friends.
Doing that would also end three years of injury frustration and after going close in both Super League and Challenge Cup, he sees no reason why they cannot take the next step under new boss Richard Marshall.
Wells, 23, recalled: “I remember being in the Family Stand and Stuart Littler took the ball in and there was a bit of handbags.
“I just heard what he said as I was near the touchline. All I heard was shouting and people pushing each other. Stuart going mad and squaring up at someone is a memory that sticks in my mind!
“I lived a stone’s throw from The Willows, literally a street down. I started in 2005 with my older brother and my dad until about 2012. My dad was a big supporter – he still is.
“I wouldn’t say I’m nervous about playing for Salford, more excited. I’ve said in the past that if I signed for Salford, it would be a surreal feeling.
“Having the chance to play for them is a big deal for me.”
Ian Watson guided Salford to the Grand Final in 2019 and this year’s Challenge Cup final before leaving for Huddersfield.
But Wells, who played for local amateur club Folly Lane with the son of then Salford player Phil Leuluai, is adamant the new squad can end a 45-year wait for silverware under Marshall.
He added: “Rugby league’s not been very good to me over the last three years. I just want this season to be one where I play a lot of games and show people what I can do.
“In 2018, in a pre-season friendly, I broke my foot but didn’t realise at the time and played one for 20 minutes!
“It was the week before Wigan travelled to Australia to play Hull in a Super League game and South Sydney, every player got a chance to play.
“That kept me out for the whole season, then in 2019 I couldn’t get to peak fitness while playing for Swinton.
“This year, the pandemic came, everything was on hold for six months and that was a spanner in the works. Then against St Helens, I did my knee ligaments and dislocated my kneecap at the same time.
“It’s frustrating but a process every player goes through I guess. 2018 was meant to be my breakthrough year at Wigan but it’s about how you learn from things like that and my knee is OK now.
“We had something of an induction with Richard this week and he laid it all on the table. What he wants from us, what he wants in terms of attitude and discipline.
“And I really think we can get silverware. If we get the most out of every day, we’ve got a great chance and we have a great squad.”
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