Green keen to rise to challenge
Australian Blake Green is revelling in the chance to fill some big shoes at Wigan Warriors.
Of all the overseas players to have graced the cherry and white over the years, it is the occupant of the number six jersey that evokes the most vivid memories.
Most recently it was Brett Finch and, going further back, it was worn with distinction by Kangaroos stand-offs Trent Barrett and Brett Kenny and Kiwi internationals Henry Paul and Frano Botica.
The 26-year-old Green was chosen to replace Finch when he returned to Melbourne at the end of last season and he needed no reminding of the hard act he had to follow.
“There is plenty of history about the number six jersey; I’m well aware of that,” he said.
“It’s something I hope to be a part of. I’m certainly working as hard as I can with the team to continue to help the club on an upward spiral.”
Green, who played in the NRL for Parramatta, Cronulla and Canterbury Bulldogs, has helped Wigan to seven points from their opening five matches going into Friday’s clash with fellow high fliers Catalan Dragons at the DW Stadium.
Unlike Finch, Green had the advantage of being used to English conditions, having spent the previous two seasons at Hull KR, where he formed an exciting half-back partnership with fellow countryman Michael Dobson.
“It’s been enjoyable,” he said. “I really like it over here. It’s certainly a change.
“Me and my wife have settled into the style of living over here. It’s a lot more relaxing - it’s pretty fast-paced in Sydney - and the only real difference is the weather.
“These type of temperatures are a change for me but it’s still a little bit of a novelty. It’s part and parcel of the game over here, you’ve just got to get on with it.”
Finch made the Super League Dream Team in his final year with the Warriors but Green is unfazed by the high expectations placed on the key playmaker of the team and believes he can help the club deliver major silverware after last year’s disappointment.
“Pressure comes with the position I play,” he said. “I don’t think it would matter what club I was with, being in the halves is part and parcel of it.
“There is pressure on me but I’m in a pretty special team and there is a big sharing of the workload.
“I’m sure, if everyone plays their role and I do my part, we’re going to be up at the top again competing for trophies. If that happens, the pressure’s gone, hasn’t it?
“The main reason I came here was to play in big games and compete for silverware. All that aside, it’s a very professional club and it’s a great environment to be at to improve my game.”
After relinquishing his old Australian schoolboys partnership with Dobson, Green has quickly struck up an understanding with former Salford City Reds scrum-half Matty Smith at the Warriors.
“He’s not that dissimilar,” Green said. “They’re both funny characters and both really good guys.
“Me and Matty get along really good off the field. We clicked really quickly and that always helps when you’re friends off the field.
“We’re pretty similar personalities and it’s been really good so far. We both play really direct, which is good, and we’re good organisers which helps me. It’s been a pretty easy transition actually.”