Adrian Lam may hand another Wigan Warriors debut to academy player
Adrian Lam may give a debut to another academy forward this week.
Ethan Havard is on stand-by to face Wakefield on Thursday night as injuries bite into the Warriors pack.
Lam could be without up to three players from the depleted side which lost 32-10 at St Helens – with only Tony Clubb a chance of returning to bolster the side. But the coach is excited about the chance to see Havard play at a higher level, having been impressed with his blockbusting performances for the Under-19s.
“Ethan will be in the 19-man squad, he’s on the fringes,” said Lam. “I remember my first impression of him was watching him play against the Aussie Schoolboys last year and he was sensational.
“He’s a big body already and he’s going to be massive. I think he’ll be great for us and he’s another good young player coming through.” Lam has already given Morgan Smithies, Amir Bourouh, Liam Byrne and Joe Shorrocks debuts this year.
And Smithies and Byrne – as well as young prop Oli Partington – are expected to be in the young pack facing Wakefield on Thursday.
Either Shorrocks or fit-again Jack Wells are also expected to face Wakefield, depending on whether Chris Hankinson switches from the backrow to wing to cover for Joe Burgess.
His chances were rated at “50/50” after he suffered a shoulder injury against Saints but won’t be out long-term.
Lam admitted Hankinson is his preferred wing option ahead of Craig Mullen or Morgan Escare.
His biggest concern yesterday was prop Joe Bullock, who was going for a scan on a knee injury.
“There’s some damage there and hopefully it’s not an ACL, because that would be his season, but we’ll know more after the scan,” said Lam.
Elsewhere, Romain Navarrete has recovered from a wrist injury and halfback Thomas Leuluai is also a doubt with a back injury, with Jake Shorrocks or Jarrod Sammut likely to step in if needed.
Lam’s pack is already without Sean O’Loughlin (Achilles), Joe Greenwood (concussion protocols) and Ben Flower (back ligaments).
And Wigan never replaced Gabe Hamlin – suspended for a UK Anti-Doping violation – or Taulima Tautai, who left in wake of his drink-driving conviction. Lam said there was no progress on attempts to bring in Mitch Clark early from Castleford.
He added: “If we need another front-rower, Havard is likely to be in. If it’s a backrower, it’s probably Jack Wells and there’s a chance we’ll need three players if Clubby isn’t fit, but we’ll know more on team run. And that’s okay, I’m enjoying seeing the young ones get the experience.”