Duo geared up for first derby

Eddy Pettybourne and Matty Bowen
Eddy Pettybourne and Matty Bowen

OVERSEAS recruits Eddy Pettybourne and Matty Bowen are smacking their lips ahead of their first derby experience today.

Team-mates have been telling the former NRL stars what to expect at a sell-out Langtree Park.

Anticipation has been amped up by St Helens’ sparkling start to the season – and Wigan are hoping to halt their rivals’ nine-game winning run.

Prop Pettybourne – who played in a friendly at Saints – said: “The boys have been filling us in about the rivalry between the towns. It’s going to be a great match, one I’m looking forward to.

“I’ve been told that back in the day, this was the original derby game, and the blokes have told me that it kind of sets up the weekend for the fans and their families if they win.

“When I came over for the World Cup last year, I came and visited Wigan and even then, fans were saying, ‘You’ve got to beat St Helens’, so I’ve been aware of it for a while.

“I’m looking forward to it.”

Though the experience will be new, Pettybourne has plenty of insight into some of the players in the enemy camp.

Saints’ star recruit Mose Masoe has been a frequent opponent in the NRL, while Sia Soliola went to the same Sydney school. And he reckons putting the shackles on the Samoan duo will go a long way to determining the outcome.

“Mose is a big boy, and I’ve known Sia for a few years,” he continued. “We played in the same school team, and he was a good player back then.

“They are doing well. They have big fowards and they are scoring points on the back of that, so the job is there for us to stop them.”

Winger Josh Charnley is the only key absentee for Shaun Wane’s outfit, who have won their past five matches.

Full-back Bowen, 32, said: “Obviously there has been a lot of talk about it and the rivalry between Wigan and St Helens and I can’t wait – I can see what all the fuss is about.”