Lions link-up to continue

Liam Marshall, who played in Wigan's friendly at Catalans, is set to play for Swinton this weekend
Liam Marshall, who played in Wigan's friendly at Catalans, is set to play for Swinton this weekend

Wigan will continue their dual-registration link with Swinton Lions this year – to help them cope with a reserve fixture list of just nine games.

Under the agreement, players not in Shaun Wane’s plans each weekend will be available to play for the Championship side on a week-to-week basis.

The clubs worked together in 2016 with five Wigan players representing Swinton at points throughout the year.

With only nine reserve fixtures this year, the Warriors see this as the best way to continue the development of players too old for the Under-19s team.

Outside backs Liam Marshall, who impressed in Swinton’s colours last year, and Tom Davies are both set to feature this weekend against London Broncos.

Wigan’s rugby general manager Kris Radlinski admits he would have preferred a stronger reserve competition.

He said: “Having promoted a number of younger players into the first team this season we have found ourselves in the situation of having 37 players and simply not enough games.

“Obviously only 17 players can play each week for the first team, and with only nine reserve games scheduled this year we have once again had to look at alternative arrangements to try and help further develop the younger members of our squad.

“Whilst this isn’t ideal and we would prefer a strong reserves competition across the board we are thankful to Swinton for their help in continuing this agreement.

“We are confident that with Rob Parker, John Duffy and the rest of the excellent staff at Swinton the junior players we send there will be representing a professional and well-run Club.”

The reserve league was revived last year but is not compulsory, and only a few are running with second-string sides.

Two of their first-team squad players, Kyle Shelford and Macauley Davies, last night agreed one-year loan deals with Workington.