When we signed Willie from Wakefield four and a half years ago I was one of the sceptics who wondered if it really would be a good signing. Rather than the usual fanfare surrounding a signing, Pochings arrival was low-key. He was a typical squad player and we doubted whether he'd get that much exposure for the first team.
From the outset Willie showed his love of the game, and that he had learned to love the Rhinos and their supporters. Always giving 100% in defence and attack he has averaged almost a try every three games, most of which were from the bench. Willing to play at second row, hooker or loose forward Willie has started more games from the bench for the Rhinos than in the starting 13.
Willie will be remembered for excellent forwards tries, a solid defence, and rarely making mistakes with ball in hand.
I wonder how far his decision was sweetened by an offer of backroom work at the Rhinos and whether his early retirment has been influenced by a desire from Hetherington/Smith to clear a place in the 20/20 for next season. At the end of his career willie will have been close to the top of his earning potential and his omission next year will give a sizable chunk to play with.
Whatever the real reason (or combination of reasons) for his retirement, Willies character and dedication will be sorely missed on the field.
Cheers Willie, and good luck in your future.