Warriors have option of adding Mitch Clark to their squad for Wakefield clash

Wigan will have the option of adding Mitch Clark to their squad for tonight’s clash at Wakefield.
Mitch ClarkMitch Clark
Mitch Clark

The Kiwi prop was not named in an 18-man squad named on Tuesday.

But that is because his loan spell with Newcastle Thunder only expired last night.

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An RFL spokesman confirmed a player returning from dual-registration or loan can be added to a squad if a space is made available for him, without punishment – as long as they are informed in advance.

His return would add some experience and size to a youthful pack. Of the other 18 players initially named in the squad, winger Dom Manfredi and fringe forward James O’Donnell are carrying injuries.

With nine senior players missing due to either injury, suspension or the England-All Stars game, Adrian Lam a is down to his bare bones as he prepares for the first of three games in just 11 days.

Hooker Brad O’Neill is set to make his debut, teenager Umyla Hanley will be at full-back and 20-year-olds Kai Pearce Paul and Morgan Smithies will be in the second-row.

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And while a trip to Trinity is usually testing, the subsequent matches – against Warrington the following Wednesday and St Helens four days later – are looking like daunting prospects given Wigan have lost both their last two matches.

Lam admits: “There’s a bit of pressure because the draw becomes a nightmare over the next four weeks.

“You want to be playing your best rugby at this point in the season, and we’re clearly not.

“But what I have learned from this group of players is when our backs are against the wall we have a knack of staying together and getting through these difficult times.

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“That’s not just going to happen to us, we’re going to need a lot of effort – it’s a tough period but if we stick together we can get through it.”

Wigan were thumped 48-0 by Catalans last month and were unable to get back to winning ways last week, going down 18-8 at home to Hull KR.

That match saw the return of Oliver Gildart and Liam Marshall but Lam has been without various key players for the bulk of the season, and with so much chopping and changing, he admits it has been hard to find their rhythm.

“It’s been like that all season, I don’t want to dwell on it – that’s not what I’m about – but when we got beaten last week, Tommy had missed six weeks out of 10, Dom Manfredi similar, Oli Gildart hasn’t played for seven months, Liam Marshall hasn’t played for longer,” he said.

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“It’s just been a puzzle season and we just need to get the job done.

“It doesn’t need to be brilliant, we just need to manage this process until better times are ahead and we can start playing our best side consistently. That’s the great challenge in rugby league, we want to respond quickly – people can write us off but we can change all of that with how we play.”

Kick-off tonight is 7.45pm and the game is not on Sky.