What are Wigan Warriors' full-back options now?

Adrian Lam spent the weekend assessing his full-back options for when Wigan return to action.

Monday, 7th June 2021, 8:29 am
Updated Monday, 7th June 2021, 8:30 am
Umyla Hanley's preferred position is full-back

Zak Hardaker will begin a two-week ban when the Warriors head to Huddersfield onFriday night.

Lam’s other two frontline options – Bevan French and Jai Field – are both sidelined with hamstring injuries, leaving the coach with a No.1 dilemma.

Teenager Umyla Hanley would appear the obvious choice.

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His handful of games this year have come on the wing but full-back is his preferred position. And forward Liam Farrell has no doubts he will be up to the task if he was handed the role.

He said: “The thing you will get with Umyla is effort, he’s tough, it’s his natural position and if he gets a chance to play there I’m sure he’ll do the job. But Lammy has some other options too.”

Those options are to move another frontline player to the important full-back position, given Hanley’s youth – he is 19 – and inexperience.

Winger Dom Manfredi has a safe pair of hands and runs the ball back strongly and centre Jake Bibby has also proven his versatility during his time at the club.

But given the role the modern full-back has in attack - chiming into the line and linking with the halves - Lam could go down the route of switching one of his halfbacks, possibly Jackson Hastings or Harry Smith.

That option has other benefits, meaning he wouldn't have to take someone out of a decimated three-quarter line, and also allowing Wigan to play Hastings, Smith and Thomas Leuluai together at the same time. Given their speed, Hastings or Smith would seem the most likely candidates if Lam went down that route.