Umyla Hanley has "improved out of sight" - will he play in Wigan Warriors' opener?
Adrian Lam says teenage prospect Umyla Hanley has “improved out of sight” ahead of a possible appearance on the wing in Wigan’s first game of the season.
Both first-choice flyers, Dom Manfredi and Liam Marshall, are missing for Friday’s opener against Super League newcomers Leigh Centurions.
Lam will name his provisional squad at noon today and he has no doubts Hanley will be up for the task if he gets the nod for one of the roles.
“This is his second season with us (in the first-team) and he’s improved out of sight,” said the coach.
“He’s one of the players I’m looking forward to seeing make a second appearance for us.”
Former Shevington Sharks junior Hanley – usually a full-back – is the son of Wigan legend Ellery, but Lam says the 19-year-old shouldn’t be burdened by any more expectations.
“Obviously the name Hanley is synonymous in rugby league here and in Australia,” said Lam. “But Umyla is his own player here, he’s still young but he's created his own pathway and he’s been great for us through pre-season.”
Lam’s selection may depend on how his players emerge from tomorrow’s captain’s run.
He is hoping Jai Field will play after a back spasm but there were question marks over the fitness of Oliver Gildart and Jackson Hastings.
Utility Jake Bibby may take one wing role but could play centre if needed, while Field – who prefers halfback or full-back – could slot into the three-quarter line if fit.
Forward Willie Isa can play centre if needed.
Hanley and fellow youngsters Sam Halsall and James O’Donnell are also in the mix. They all made their one and only appearances in a loss to St Helens last year.
“We’re not carrying as big a squad, so we’ll be pushing the young ones and making sure they’re good to go and we’re confident they can do a job if we put them there,” added Lam.
At halfback and in the pack, he has a different selection headache as all of his players are available.
Squad news & reaction from 12pm.