PROPS Gil Dudson and Jordan James took a chance to press their Wigan claims yesterday – by playing in the Championship.
The Welsh internationals turned out for Workington in their narrow 24-22 loss to Keighley Cougars, but James found his way over the whitewash for a try.
With competitions so fierce for front-row places, Shaun Wane gave them the chance to play for the Cumbrian outfit on dual-registration terms to try and catch his eye.
He said: “It’s great to be able to give them some game-time at a decent standard.
“I know it’s not Super League level, but by playing a lot of minutes it gets them game-ready.
“They get bashed around a fair bit, because opposition players obviously want to impress against Super League players and they up their own game, so it is a good test for them.”
Dudson, 23, played in the World Club Challenge and is now plotting a return to the team after being sidelined with injury. The former Crusaders forward made 24 appearances during the double-winning campaign, and would surely have figured more had it not been for a broken hand which ruled him out for several weeks.
Off-season recruit James, 32, played against Hull KR but lost his place in the Warriors team for last Thursday’s victory at Warrington to Tony Clubb.
With Sean O’Loughlin returning from injury for this Friday’s visit of Catalan, the competition among the front-rowers will be amped up further as Ben Flower has been covering at loose forward in the captain’s absence.
Scott Taylor, Dom Crosby and Eddy Pettybourne are also in the mix.
Wane said: “The players know we monitor all our dual-registration and loan players to see how they’re getting on.
“Just because they’re not playing for Wigan doesn’t mean they’re not playing for places in our team.”
Wigan struck a dual-registration deal with Workington this season, replacing the similar arrangement with Leigh last year. It allows them to send players on a week-to-week basis.
No open age players are allowed in the Under-19s competition. Wigan’s U19s are struggling for form after three defeats in a row. Wane added: “There are no excuses, they’ve just been beaten by better sides and it’s not acceptable. But they are well-coached and I’m confident they’ll turn it around soon.”