Gelling handed Richards’ shirt

Anthony Gelling has been handed the No.5 shirt
Anthony Gelling has been handed the No.5 shirt

ANTHONY Gelling has won the race to the vacant No.5 shirt in an early indication he will be handed the first chance to fill Pat Richards’ place on Wigan’s left wing.

The Warriors squad numbers are unveiled today ahead of this evening’s launch of their new home and away kits.

Only one of Wigan’s six new signings have got a place in the XIII, with Matty Bowen replacing Sam Tomkins at No.1.

Fellow recruits Eddy Pettybourne, Dan Sarginson, Tony Clubb and John Batemen will wear numbers 22, 23, 24 and 25 respectively. The Warriors’ other new signingfor 2014, Sam Hopkins, has been given squad number 29.

Harrison Hansen has retained the No.11 despite increasing speculation he is poised for a move to Salford before the 2014 season starts.

The Reds are keen to get the 28-year-old on board and are thought to be prepared to pay a fee to both buy-out the final year of his Wigan contract, and compensate Hansen for the loss of a testimonial.

Andy Powell, who has been attracting interest from rugby union clubs, is at No.21, and prop Epa Lauaki has dropped from No.8 to 30 - a clear suggestion his future lies elsewhere.

Iain Thornley has taken the no.4 shirt from Jack Hughes after cementing the centre role last season, while props Scott Taylor and Ben Flower have been rewarded for their strong performances in 2013 with the No.8 and 10 shirts respectively.

Shaun Wane understands the interest in squad numbers, but insisted they carry no weight when it comes to selecting his team. He said: “Squad numbers are always eagerly anticipated by the fans. I always base them on performance from the previous season together with the potential the coaching staff see in individuals for the year ahead.

“Squad numbers do not guarantee places in the side and all the players know they will have to continue to work hard both in pre-season and throughout the year to make the team. I am excited about the season ahead and think we have an excellent squad to build on our successes of 2013.”

Warriors have given first-team squad numbers to youngsters Connor Farrell, Ryan Sutton and Ben Austin after the trio all impressed in the Under-19s successful season. Wigan’s loyal fans will retain squad number 18 in recognition of the role they play supporting the team.

In total, 23 of the 38 players in the squad are graduates of their academy system.

The release of squad numbers come ahead of tonight’s launch of the new 2014 home and away kits at a free event in the Grand Arcade at 6.30pm. Replicas will go on sale tonight.

Wigan Warriors 2014 Squad Numbers

1. Matty Bowen, 2. Josh Charnley, 3. Darrell Goulding, 4. Iain Thornley, 5. Anthony Gelling*, 6. Blake Green, 7. Matty Smith, 8. Scott Taylor*, 9. Michael McIlorum, 10. Ben Flower*, 11. Harrison Hansen, 12. Liam Farrell, 13. Sean O’Loughlin, 14. Jack Hughes*, 15. Logan Tomkins*, 16. Gil Dudson *, 17. Dom Crosby *, 18. Warriors Fans, 19. Sam Powell* 20. Greg Burke* , 21. Andy Powell*, 22. Eddy Pettybourne, 23. Dan Sarginson, 24. Tony Clubb, 25. John Bateman, 26. Ryan Hampshire*, 27. George Williams*, 28. Rhodri Lloyd*

29. Sam Hopkins, 30. Epalahame Lauaki*

31. Dom Manfredi*, 32. Joe Burgess*, 33. James Greenwood, 34. Lewis Tierney*

35. Rob Lever*, 36. Connor Farrell, 37. Ryan Sutton, 38. Ben Austin, 39. Jack Murphy*