Chris Hankinson keeps Wigan Warriors' kicking role this week - as Adrian Lam reveals injury doubts
Sharp-shooter Chris Hankinson is set to hang on to his place in the side – and the goal-kicking duties – for Wigan’s trip to Huddersfield.
The centre, who booted a perfect five from five in a 23-14 win at Leeds, was tasked with the responsibility because of Zak Hardaker’s absence.
Full-back Hardaker is set to return on Friday but as he has had a hamstring injury, coach Adrian Lam is planning to let Hankinson continue with the tee.
The versatile 25-year-old is expected to play right centre as Dan Sarginson is a “severe doubt” with injury – while Thomas Leuluai may also miss out with a shoulder problem.
“Hank will hold his position and with the nature of Zak’s injury, we may let Hank keep the kicking role,” said Lam.
“He surprised me a little bit with kicking five from five. With a minute to go we were leading by three points – and he had kicked two from the sidelines, so it could quite easily have been a different game.
“We’ve lost a couple games this year through goal-kicking and I think this weekend could be another tight one.”
Lam rated Leuluai’s chances at 50-50, with Jarrod Sammut on stand-by to come into the starting side.
“Jarrod was playing well before he got injured,” said Lam, who had the Aussie livewire on the bench at Leeds but decided against using him.
Lam will name his 19-man squad today with Joe Greenwood expected to return to the fold.
But Taulima Tautai is set to again be left out – Wigan have said he will not be available for selection until they have completed an internal investigation into his drink-drive conviction.
“Taulima is meeting with the club so there’ll be some guidance from them, it’s a decision that’ll come to me from the club,” said Lam yesterday afternoon.“But as we speak he isn’t in there.”
Lam, meanwhile, says he and club management have had discussions about allowing some fringe players to leave for spells on loan.
With no reserve grade, players too old for the Under-19s can only get game-time by playing for for other clubs – either on loan or, if with a lower league outfit, on dual-registration.