DARRELL Goulding thinks winning the Challenge Cup will put Wigan in the best shape possible to go on to win Super League – although he doesn’t remember the final.
The classy 25-year-old centre was knocked out midway through the second half at Wembley while attempting to tackle Hull’s Kirk Yeaman and left the field on a stretcher.
But despite the lengthy stoppage while he was treated for the injury, Goulding insists he is fine and raring to go.
“It’s all good and there are no problems. I’ll probably have to have it looked at some point but it feels fine,” he told the Evening Post.
“It’s one of the better times I’ve been knocked-out really – had no concussions from it.
“I’ve been knocked out a few times – three or four bad ’uns.”
Goulding missed-out on the Warriors Cup triumph of 2011 so wanted to enjoy this year’s success more than most – but his teammates going on to win the trophy has made up to him the fact he could only join the celebrations once they had long been underway.
“Looking back you’d have liked to have gone up there celebrating with the team but the fact that we won is all I care about,” he said.
“I only remember little bits of the game and I’ve heard it wasn’t much of a classic game to be honest but even though I don’t remember the game I’ll remember the celebrations for a long time. It’s was just lights out. I had a bad one a few years back and every time I’ve been knocked out since then it’s been a worrying time.
“When I first went down there was a little bit of pain in my neck but nothing was serious.”
Goulding wanted to prove to worrying fans he wasn’t too badly hurt by leaving the field by his won accord but he revealed the medical team at the club weren’t going to let that happen.
“I could have walked off the pitch but with the staff they won’t let you if there are any concerns with your neck but there is nothing wrong with my spine or anything.”
With the Cup in the bag, Goulding, a Grand Final winner in 2010, wants his side to push on and claim their first league and cup double since 1995, a feat which would silence critics following a poor Super League run of late which Goulding isn’t worried about.
“Winning the Challenge Cup was quite a big confidence boost for us,” he said.
“We’re all feeling quite fresh and hopefully we can go on to win the Grand Final because it would be really special to win both cups in a year.”
Even if injuries do strike like they have already this season, Goulding is confident Shaun Wane’s policy of bleeding youth into the squad will ensure there will be enough experience to cope.
“The best place to do that is the way the lads are feeling and we are right at the minute – the players are really fresh and the young lads have been exposed to a lot of football this year.”
AS the Evening Post reported yesterday, Wane has named a much-changed squad to face Hull FC tomorrow night. Former Wales RU international Andy Powell has also been named and could make his third appearance for the club.
Full 19-man squad: Joe Burgess, Dom Crosby, Gil Dudson, Ben Flower, Anthony Gelling, James Greenwood, Jack Hughes, Ryan Hampshire, Rhodri Lloyd, Dominic Manfredi, Andy Powell, Sam Powell, Scott Taylor, Iain Thornley, Lewis Tierney, Logan Tomkins, Chris Tuson, Tom Spencer, George Williams.