HARRISON Hansen is facing the most anxious day of his life after being ordered to appear before the RFL tonight.
The forward has been cited for dangerous contact during Wigan’s 60-12 thrashing of Bradford last Friday, placing his involvement in this Saturday’s Challenge Cup Final at Wembley under threat.
The offence is Grade B and the regular punishment is one or two matches.
However, even if Hansen is found guilty, there is a chance he may be allowed to play at Wembley. Depending on the severity of the incident – and the player’s disciplinary record – he may just be given a fine instead.
There have already been occasions this year when a player has escaped a ban for a Grade B offence – and Hansen’s good track record will work in his favour when he faces Red Hall chiefs this evening.
Michael Maguire is expected to travel with the second-rower, who has never played in a Challenge Cup Final after missing out on selection in 2004.
Maguire will wait to discover Hansen’s fate before selecting his Challenge Cup Final squad – a job he described yesterday as the hardest decision of his coaching career.
The Australian plans to tell the players tomorrow who will play at Wembley – and who will miss out.
If Hansen is given the green-light to play, his biggest headache is likely to be the substitutes’ bench, with Liam Farrell, Gareth Hock and Paul Prescott possibly battling for two spots.
“Without a doubt it’s the hardest thing I’ve got to do,” said Maguire.
“Telling someone they won’t play in a final is the worst thing you have to do as a coach. It’s definitely not something I like doing.
“With the players I’ve got available, it’s a great place to be as a coach but unfortunately I can only select 17.”
“Everyone understands why they’re in or out every week,” he added.
“There will be a full understanding of the reasons I’ve gone that way. Hopefully they buy into it.”
He only has to publicly announce his 19-man squad on Thursday and his final line-up an hour before they take on Leeds this Saturday.
With the first-choice starting line-up relatively settled – and all in good form – and Jeff Lima and Mike McIlorum seemingly assured places on the bench, it is likely to mean Farrell, Hock or Prescott drop out.
Brett Finch, Lee Mossop and Andy Coley return to the team after being rested against the Bulls.
Prop Coley has confirmed he will retire at the end of this season but half-back Paul Deacon has yet to announce his future intentions.
Deacon has an agreement in place to join the coaching staff when he hangs up his boots, and Wigan may wait to confirm Shaun Wane’s appointment as Maguire’s successor to reveal Deacon’s plans.