CHRIS Tuson is hoping to make up for lost time when he blasts back into the Wigan side tomorrow.
The no-nonsense forward has been out of action for eight weeks after injuring his knee playing against Wakefield in July.
His recovery was hampered by a hernia problem, but now he’s been given the all-clear, he is looking to add to his haul of 17 appearances this season by facing Crusaders in the final round of the regular season.
And Tuson admits he is a man on a mission, having watched the Challenge Cup Final victory from the sidelines during his enforced lay-off – less than a year after missing out on the Grand Final.
The Leyland-born forward said: “I was gutted to miss out.
It was good being with the lads and I was happy for them, but you don’t really feel a part of it when you’ve not played.
“Missing Wembley was different to the Grand Final, because I never had a chance of being fit so it was just a case of taking it on the chin.
“But with the Grand Final, I was in the team until a couple of weeks before it, and that was disappointing not to play, so I’m trying to use it to spur me on and make sure I can get in the side and stay there.”
Tuson has been one of Wigan’s unsung heroes for the past two years and with Gareth Hock banned until the end of the campaign, he has a chance to re-establish himself in the match-day squad.
Tomorrow’s match against 13th-placed Crusaders should ease him back into the mix before the high-intensity of the play-offs begins the following week.
He said: “The physios have been great and I’m really looking forward to getting back in the side.
“Madge wants me to get a game under my belt, then he has more options for the play-offs.”
Tuson replaces Hock in the only change to Wigan’s 19-man provisional squad.
FORMER Wigan stand-off Tim Smith is being linked with a return to Super League with new-boys Widnes.
The Australian, out of contract at Cronulla, failed to make an impact at the Warriors during 21 appearances between 2008-09.
A MINUTE’S silence will be held before all fixtures this weekend in memory of Swinton player Dana Wilson, who was killed in a car crash last weekend.
WIGAN’S 19-man squad: S Tomkins, Charnley, J Tomkins, Carmont, Richards, Finch, Deacon, Coley, Leuluai, Lima, Hoffman, Hansen, O’Loughlin, Prescott, McIlorum, Farrell, Tuson, O’Carroll, Goulding.
CRUSADERS: Schifcofske, Martin, Mellars, Reardon, Sammut, Withers, Bryant, Chan, Winterstein, James, Flower, Kear, White, Johnson, Moore, Lupton, Williams, Tansey, Bracek.