TEENAGE sensation George Williams has been handed the vital playmaker role for tomorrow’s Challenge Cup showdown with Castleford.
He will play his first game at stand-off this season after Sam Powell joined regular No.6 Blake Green in the treatment room.
Until now, his five starts have been at either hooker (three) or scrum-half (two), with eight appearances from the bench.
Shaun Wane last night confirmed Williams’ appointment, as he welcomed back four key players from injury for the BBC-televised contest with the high-flying Tigers. Ben Flower, Liam Farrell, Mike McIlorum and Dan Sarginson will boost the Warriors’ chances of progression into the semi-finals.
As well as the omission of Powell to an unspecified injury, prop Scott Taylor and centre Darrell Goulding have been dropped.
Interestingly, perhaps coincidentally, both were this week linked with moves away from the club. The Evening Post revealed on Tuesday how Hull FC had targeted Taylor, while Goulding had attracted the attentions of several Super League outfits.
But the return of Flower from an ankle problem was always likely to squeeze a prop out of the picture, while Goulding has apparently fallen behind Anthony Gelling and Sarginson in the pecking order. McIlorum will reclaim his No.9 role, while Farrell will shore up an already strong backrow of Jack Hughes, John Bateman and Sean O’Loughlin.
Meanwhile, it isn’t thought winger Josh Charnley will play for Workington on dual-registration this weekend.
Wane had considered sending him to the Championship outfit after two months out with a knee injury.
Wigan’s 19-man squad: Bateman, Bowen, Burgess, Burke, Crosby, Dudson, Farrell, Flower, Gelling, Hampshire, Hughes, James, Manfredi, McIlorum, O’Loughlin, Sarginson, Smith, Sutton, Williams.
Castleford’s 19-man squad: Dixon, Shenton, Webster, Dorn, Sneyd, Lynch, Milner, Huby, Millington, Hauraki, Clark, Holmes, Mariano, Wheeldon, Ellis, Gibson, Clare, Finn, Jewitt.