Goulding raring to go

editorial image
Share this article

DARRELL Goulding is ready to return to the big stage this Friday night - the centre has missed the last three games after a nasty sickness bug.

But he is now fully-fit and hoping to get the nod to face Super League champions Leeds Rhinos in front of the glare of the Sky Sports cameras.

Goulding said: “I’m ready to play, I’m feeling good and if Shaun wants me, I’m fit to play.

“To be fair, I probably could have played against Catalan last Friday at a push, but we decided to give it another week and I can’t wait to play again.

“It’s been frustrating not playing. Playing is different to most jobs, because all week is building up to the 80 minutes on the pitch and – as much as Wigan try and involve you – you don’t really feel a part of it when you can’t play.”

In Goulding’s absence, Wigan have stormed to three victories – against London, Castleford and Catalans – to cement second-spot in the ladder after six rounds.

Jack Hughes has dropped from second-row to fill Goulding’s right-centre role.

And with the 25-year-old back in the frame, Wane may have the relative luxury of a selection headache this Friday night.

With in-form Iain Thornley and Goulding the most obvious candidates for the centre spots, the coach is likely to omit a back-rower – with Hughes or Greg Burke the likeliest to miss out.

Leeds were beaten 32-8 by Huddersfield last Friday, and coach Brian McDermott has already predicted Wigan will “be licking their lips and smelling a bit of blood” as they recover from a World Club Challenge hangover.

The Warriors ran out 50-8 winners in their last match at Headingley, but the Rhinos recovered out of sight to knock their fierce rivals out of the Challenge Cup and Super League play-offs.

“I don’t think anyone would have called that last score there,” admits Goulding. “We had a few players out – the same as now – and we really played well.

“But they’re a quality team, they proved that against us in two big games last year.

“We’re not going to focus on those results but I’d be lying if I said it won’t be in the back of the lads’ minds on Friday.

“They’re one of our biggest rivals and we’d all be happy to get the win.

“But we also know we’ll need to play well to do that. I can’t remember being involved in a game against Leeds which wasn’t exciting, and Friday will be no different.”