BEN Westwood believes his stop-start 2017 could end up being “a blessing in disguise” for next year.

The Wire icon, who has just signed a new one-year deal to take him into his 17th season with the club, has played only 15 games this season due to injuries and suspensions.

A high tackle on Leeds Rhinos centre Liam Sutcliffe in Wolves’ 25-18 victory on April 7 earned him a four-game suspension.

Westwood was also banned for three matches for a dangerous throw on Danny Tickle during the 50-10 win over Leigh on July 7.

In between those suspensions, Westwood sat out seven games with a broken hand sustained in the 24-24 draw with Wigan Warriors at Magic Weekend on May 21.

While admitting he was hoping to feature more this season, the 36-year-old says his lack of playing time could help him next year.

“I don’t feel as sore as I normally would at this time of year, so maybe it’s a blessing in disguise,” he said.

“It’s just been a bit frustrating for me. I’d got myself into a bit of form and then I got the ban against Leeds.

“Then I broke my hand and in my first game back against Leigh, I got banned then as well!

“These things happen but I feel like I’ve been in decent form since I’ve come back and hopefully I can carry it through now.”