The 18th man column: ‘Wigan were right not to make a move for Charnley’

Josh Charnley won two Challenge Cups and two Grand Finals with Wigan
Josh Charnley won two Challenge Cups and two Grand Finals with Wigan
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Our 18th man columnists discuss Josh Charnley’s return and tomorrow’s visit of Huddersfield...

What are your thoughts about Josh Charnley’s return to Super League? And should Wigan have tried to recruit him?

Robert Kenyon: It’s good to have him back in rugby league as he’s one of the good guys.

I wouldn’t have gone in for him as we have wingers in abundance.

Players that leave and come back are never the same player, especially when they go to union, they lose their pace. I wouldn’t have had him back, it wouldn’t have made sense. Good luck to him at 
Warrington, just play poorly when we play them.

David Bailey: I think it was one of the worst kept secrets in RL that Warrington were keen on bringing Josh Charnley back. Am I glad to see him return? Absolutely. Do I wish Wigan had tried to bring him back? Absolutely not.

Had he been a world class centre, or blockbusting prop then maybe, but Wigan have plenty of players (all home-grown I might add) to cover the wing positions. As much as Charnley is loved in Wigan and is obviously still a huge fan, it just wouldn’t make any sense at all but he could still come back to haunt us.

Jon Lyon: I am delighted for Josh that he has returned to Super League.

He was wasting his time sitting on Sale’s bench and it would have been tragic for him to have spent the prime years of his career barely getting a game, and no doubt hardly touching the ball even when he did. I’m sure he’ll prove a great signing for Warrington and I wish him all the best, except against Wigan. Despite his fine form in his final season for Wigan I don’t think we needed to make a move for him with Marshall, Burgess, Davies and Manfredi on the books.

Darren Wrudd: Josh Charnley has grown up with rugby league and it is great to have him back in the fold. As a lad, he comes across as such a genuinely nice chap and I hope that he slots right in at Warrington and makes a proper name for himself again. Should we have signed him?

Probably not, but that does not mean I would not have liked him to stay here either. His leaving has forced the club’s hand to blood two youngsters into the squad earlier than either could have imagined and Marshall and Davies have blossomed because of it, just as Sam Tomkins did when Tim Smith’s injury gave him his chance as a youngster in 2009. I think many Wigan fans will give Josh a really warm welcome when he steps out against us, as they did when Feka went to Hull and that would be a fitting salute to the young man.

Sean Lawless: It’s great to see Josh Charnley back in rugby league and its even better to see that Wigan haven’t tried to sign him, just because he is an ex-player. I enjoyed watching Josh Charnley for Wigan in the 2011 – 2013 campaigns but after that, we rarely saw him hit the same levels for one reason or another. Great to see him back in rugby league but even happier with Davies, Burgess, Marshall and Manfredi.

Were you disappointed – or even relieved! – when you heard Sunday’s game was postponed?

Robert Kenyon: Disappointed, if football games are going ahead and they’re cancelling rugby games, that makes us look a bit soft. People have short memories, people on social media were taking photos and commenting ‘summer rugby’ ironically. This is summer rugby compared with what we used to get. The players just need to fit some two-inch metal studs, rub some winter green on their legs and pump the orange ball up and get on with it. Character building they call it.

David Bailey: I think common sense prevailed for the Cas game to be postponed. It’s not the most up-to-date of stadiums and the driving conditions on the M62 have been treacherous in recent weeks. Although the question marks will now be raised about when the game will be played and this could cause a headache if Wigan and Castleford progress in the Challenge Cup. It’s a shame because the game would have been a decent test of Wigan’s credentials but that test will have to wait until Good Friday now.

Jon Lyon: I was very disappointed to hear the game called off. I think it would have been a good time to play Castleford as by the time the replay is scheduled the pitches will be drier and no doubt suit them more. If it is scheduled for the international weekend in June as seems likely then both teams will be missing a few players, but hopefully our squad depth will see us through.

Darren Wrudd: Personally I did not mind either way when the game was postponed as I had not planned to go. Sometimes life gets in the way and you simply can’t fit everything in. On reflection though, player welfare and fan safety showed that a common sense approach is best adopted and although many will have made the arrangements I am sure that the majority will understand. Besides I may be able to make the next one.

Sean Lawless: I was really disappointed to see the Castleford game postponed. It felt like it was the right game at the right time for Wigan to show whether they are contenders in 2018. However, the extra week’s break could be vital in the lead up to the Easter weekend and will hopefully negate the effect of the Australia trip once and for all.

Wigan host Huddersfield tomorrow – what do you expect?

Robert Kenyon: I expect Sam Tomkins to be ‘rested’ for Good Friday, Morgan Escare to get a full game at fullback and play a blinder which would force Waney’s hand in keeping him at fullback and maybe not playing Sam at all against Saints. I expect a big score putting on Huddersfield and Rick Stone sacked in the morning. If I’m honest I’d be trying to sign a few of their players too. Akuma Ta’ai would be a nice addition to the squad.

David Bailey: I think my expectations for this game are similar to the last couple of home games (which sadly didn’t come into play). Wigan again must be looking to win this game if they are to challenge Saints at the top of the table. Huddersfield haven’t really performed this season and the Warriors need to put together a performance for more than 40 minutes. I do feel that if Wigan’s attack and defence clicks into place for a full 80 minutes someone could be on to a hiding to nothing and this could well be the weekend.

Jon Lyon: It’s hard to know which Huddersfield will turn up, they’ve had a couple of good results this season but have been appalling in other games. They do normally raise their game against us, as two draws last year testifies. However, with the extra week off we’ve had thanks to our postponed game I expect us to come out firing, and would hope for a convincing win at home. Let’s leave Sam at fullback and start throwing the ball about a bit more.

Darren Wrudd: Huddersfield have stuttered and stumbled into 2018 with some indifferent performances but they are certainly capable of causing us a problem. I expect that we will burst into the game and try to put some points on but will need to dominate the boot of Danny Brough and the blistering runs of World Cup stunner Jermaine McGillvary. On the Huddersfield website there is a fans poll asking for Wigan’s biggest threat and there is not a winger in the available choices, so the depth of talent here at Wigan is certainly recognised by them. We need to build on that threat and stake a claim for fortress DW with a convincing display.

Sean Lawless: I expect a rampant Wigan win against Huddersfield.

The game needs to be a confidence booster for players and fans alike leading into the Good Friday clash.

We need to see Wigan complete at a high percentage and the forwards dominate.

I wish Jake Mamo was playing for the Giants, as how Wigan looked to deal with him could have given us an insight into how they will deal with Ben Barba the following week.