Wane: Injuries down to bad luck

Micky McIlorum has not played in 14 months but is closing in on a return
Micky McIlorum has not played in 14 months but is closing in on a return

Shaun Wane has carried out a detailed investigation into Wigan’s early-season injury woes - and concluded it’s down to “bad luck”.

Wane yesterday revealed Sam Tomkins’ return to action may be delayed until June after a setback in his recovery.

His misery typifies the Warriors’ misfortune this season, with 13 players missing for their last match - a 22-20 loss to Hull FC - including 10 frontline stars.

This is the second year Wane has had to deal with an unusually-long casualty list, which prompted him to delve into the issues.

Wane’s staff have scrutinised their workloads to try and find ways to cut the problems.

“There are no trends,” said Wane. “We’ve looked at how we’ve trained, the times we train at, I’ve looked at every possible scenario because it’s getting me down, and it’s hard work dealing with it. But there’s nothing.

“If there were eight hamstring pulls, then I’d start questioning the ground we train on and how long for.

“But we’ve not. There are loads of impact injuries which can’t be stopped - Oli Gildart’s was in contact, Ryan Sutton had a freakish eye injury... you can’t account for those.

“It’s just luck.”

Wane’s players train with GPS trackers which measures the distance they cover and even the scale of impacts. He has compared data this year with last season and also 2015, when Gildart was the only academy-graduate who debuted for the first-team.

Already this year, Wane has brought in three homegrown players.

“Two years ago, you could count the injuries on one hand, and we have GPS data which shows we trained 30 per cent more intense then than this year,” he said.

On the positive side, many of the injured players are set to be dripfed back into the squad over the coming weeks, starting with Sutton, Gildart and Liam Farrell for Friday’s trip to Leeds.

Hooker Micky McIlorum could even return as early as the following week against Castleford, following a 14-month lay-off with a broken ankle, with Joe Burgess, Sean O’Loughlin and Lewis Tierney also close to full-fitness.

As well as Tomkins, John Bateman (June) and Dom Manfredi (autumn) are sidelined longer-term.