Laser panic for Charnley

John Charnley (right) and teammates celebrate Thomas Leuluai's try at Fev

John Charnley (right) and teammates celebrate Thomas Leuluai's try at Fev

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WING ace Josh Charnley last night admitted he “panicked” when a laser pen was shone into his eyes in Friday’s Challenge Cup encounter.

The winger was targeted by a Featherstone fan as he kicked a conversion at the end of the first-half.

Referee Richard Silverwood alerted stewards, who went into the crowd to try and identify the culprit.

Charnley said: “As soon as I ran up to kick the ball I saw a light flash across my eyes.

“At first I panicked, I wondered what was going on. The ref spotted it.

“It’s not nice. It’s not sportsmanship, is it? But it’s one of those things you’ve got to deal with.”

Charnley managed to strike the conversion, and finished the 32-16 victory with three goals to his name.

But full-back Sam Tomkins started with the kicking duties in Pat Richards’ absence until taking a bang on his leg, prompting 20-year-old Charnley to take the role.

Super League’s leading try-scorer explained: “We had a kicking competition during the week and Sam got more, so Waney went with him.

“But he hurt his quad early on so I took it back over. I still felt confident I could do a job.”

The hard-fought victory against Championship side Featherstone saw Wigan move into the quarter-finals, which is drawn tomorrow morning.

And Charnley admits Friday night’s encounter, in which Rovers twice took the lead in the opening half, was closer than they had hoped.

“With a Championship side, everyone thinks you’re going to walk all over them but they turned up and showed what they’ve got,” he said. “You could feel the pressure but we were confident if we stuck to our systems we’d come out on top.

“We just had to stick to our plays and got them back into an arm-wrestle.

“You don’t know what to expect when you come to places like this, they tried to shut us down as much as they could, but we still knuckled down and carried on doing what we do.”

Charnley won the Challenge Cup at Wembley in his breakthrough season last year.

“It would be a great achievement to do it again,” he said.