MAGICAL Michael Monaghan looks set to make a massive impact on Super League again in 2013.
The sniping Australian hooker is catching the eye in training and a fully-fit Monaghan could make all the difference in Wolves’ title chase.
“I’m expecting a big year from Mick,” said Wolves’ skipper Adrian Morley.
“He’s training really well. His knee problems have cleared up and he’s running round very freely.”
A double knee cartilage operation last February left Wolves’ 2011 player of the year on the sidelines for three months and some of the spark was missing from his energetic and defence-splitting dummy half work upon his eagerly anticipated return.
‘Monas’ had to carefully manage the strain on his knees during training in order to make himself available at weekends, with Micky Higham taking over as the starting number nine for much of the year.
But the 32-year-old brother of Wolves’ free-scoring winger Joel Monaghan, described as ‘world class’ by boss Tony Smith, looks to be up for the fight with Higham and Brad Dwyer to wrestle back the starting role at acting half back.
“He just wasn’t himself last year,” said Morley.
“He missed a lot of the year but even when he was back he wasn’t quite where he wanted to be.
“The year before he was absolutely outstanding and I think he’ll get up to that level again. He’s feeling great.
“As frustrated as he was with last year, he’s going to take it out on this year with his performances - mark my words.”
Morley, who has also felt more than his fair share of niggly injury problems over the past 12 months, added: “He needed the operation and with any ‘op’ you get a bit of a side effect.
“It’s been a year now and I think he just needed a bit of a rest and time for it to heal up.”
At one stage it looked as though the knee problems could finish the former Manly star’s career prematurely.
Morley said: “He was getting frustrated by it and it does drive you mad when you’re putting the hours in in the gym but not getting the rewards. However, he’s in good nick now. I’m pleased for him and my fingers are crossed.”