Powell shoulders more responsibility
Sam Powell could be forgiven for feeling like the last man standing when he faces Salford tomorrow night!
He is the only senior halfback or hooker still in the squad after injury or suspension ruled out George Williams, Thomas Leuluai, Micky McIlorum and Jake Shorrocks.
And three other experienced players who have filled the roles – Morgan Escare, Sam Tomkins and Sean O’Loughlin – are also absent.
Williams’ knee injury is expected to sideline him for around two weeks, Escare and centre Anthony Gelling, who also suffered knee injuries last weekend, need further scans.
The severity of their injuries and likely recovery time-frames are expected to become clearer tomorrow.
Powell is expected to partner utility Nick Gregson in the vital halfback roles, with Josh Ganson at hooker – just a week after his Super League debut.
And the 24-year-old, who has spent most of the past year at hooker, is looking forward to shouldering the extra responsibility.
He said: “I want to crack on from last week and improve, and hopefully create enough to get the win.
“I wouldn’t say it’s tricky, I played halfback longer than I did hooker, it’s just getting the timings right and get a combination going with whoever is in the other role – I’m looking forward to it.
“If we play our best, there’s no reason we can’t beat Salford.”
Young halfback Josh Woods, who has played on dual-registration for Swinton for the last two weeks, could make his debut after being included in Shaun Wane’s provisional squad. Forward Joel Tomkins is another option as an emergency-hooker.
Lewis Tierney is set to return to the side at full-back, with fringe-players Jack Wells, Joe Bretherton and Liam Forsyth returning.
Powell says the changes should not be too disruptive.
He explained: “We might simplify a couple of things because of the numbers we’re missing, but the structure throughout the club – from 16, 17 through to first-team – is the same, so the players who come in know the moves and the calls.
“Most clubs in Super League run the same shapes, it’s sometimes just a case of who runs them better, the personnel and the timing.”
Third-placed Salford head to the DW Stadium tomorrow one point ahead of Wigan, who are fifth.
The Warriors’ three-game winning streak over Easter abruptly ended with a 54-4 mauling at Castleford last Saturday.
“That scoreline isn’t acceptable,” said Powell, last year’s Players’ Player of the Year.
“A few things happened in the game, but we shouldn’t be leaking that many points.
“Other teams may shy away from losses like that, but we had a meeting and we were totally honest with each other, and said it wasn’t good enough.
“We were in this situation last year and came out the other side. We’ll get back on the horse an give it our best shot.”
Of the players listed as doubtful earlier this week, only prop Ryan Sutton has been named in the 19-man squad, meaning Wane is without 13 front-line players due to either injury, suspension or international duty.
Full-back Gabriel Fell, who has yet to play for Wigan, is also in the 19-man squad.