Wane looks at hooking options

Logan Tomkins - Wigan's only other recognised hooker

Logan Tomkins - Wigan's only other recognised hooker

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SHAUN Wane was today weighing up his No 9 options after Michael McIlorum was handed a three-match ban.

Wane fought a case to the RFL, after opting not to submit an early guilty plea for the grade C wreckless high tackle McIlorum committed on Kirk Dixon in the 10th minute of Wigan’s defeat to Castleford on Sunday.

McIlorum will now miss Friday’s game against Hull KR, the following Thursday’s trip to Warrington and Catalans’ visit to the DW Stadium on March 28.

And with Sam Powell also missing, it means Logan Tomkins - the squad’s only other fit hooker - is poised for a pivotal role.

Tomkins has played 80 minutes before, but Wane will consider other options, including putting rookie halfback George Williams on the bench - allowing him to switch Matty Smith to the dummy-half position for a spell.

He may even use captain Sean O’Loughlin as a makeshift hooker.

“Micky is an important player for us and we’ll miss him, but I’m not worried,” said Wane.

“We have Logan Tomkins there and we have options.

“I have a choice of putting George on the bench, which would allow me to move Matty to hooker. “Lockers is another option. If Logan does 60 minutes and Lockers has to do 20, I’m not worried about that at all.”

Wane decided not to accept an early guilty plea - and a two-game ban - for McIlorum because he thought he had a strong case of the hooker being found not guilty. McIlorum was also fined £300.

“Sometime I was going to give him three weeks off, so it may be forced on me now,” he said.

Meanwhile, Wane has given mis-firing Matty Smith his support and ruled out changing his goal-kicker.

Smith took over the role from Pat Richards this year but his strike rate is less than 50 per cent.

However, the halfback did nail a sideline conversion under pressure at Castleford last Sunday and Wane says he is working hard on finding his groove.

“He continues to practice, he’s improving, and it’s only a matter of time,” said Wane. “I’ll stick to him, I’m confident he’ll come good.”

Wane ruled out the idea of bringing in a specialist goal-kicker, adding: “That’s not my way.

“I want absolute quality in every position and it wouldn’t sit right with me signing a goal-kicker. We have others who can kick - Josh Charnley, Ryan Hampshire - but I’m confident Matty’s work will pay off.”