The 18th Man: Greenwood will give us another dimension

Joe Greenwood is set to make his Wigan debut against Leeds
Joe Greenwood is set to make his Wigan debut against Leeds

Our 18th Man panel address this week's Wigan Warriors topics

Joe Greenwood is set to make his debut tonight - what do you hope to see from him, and from Wigan against Leeds?

Sean Lawless: I expect Wigan to get back into their groove, being back at the DW will help them no doubt and I just don’t think Leeds have the quality available to them at this moment in time to get themselves out of their winless streak.

I am excited to see a hard running backrower in the form of Greenwood – with Bateman, Farrell and Greenwood we now have three very different options in the backrow which should hopefully keep the opposition guessing.

Robert Kenyon: I hope to see his good line-running and a try on debut.

He is my type of second-rower, quick and a good line runner. He will be itching to play and he’ll have a stormer. I’m expecting, that with the announcement of where Wane is going the news has probably picked at the scab of the news that he was leaving.

So the good work last week will be undone. A win would be very hard fought but we will be right behind the lads.

Jon Lyon: We have to give Greenwood some leeway for this game.

He’s not played too much this year and has come off the back of a long flight and stressful time of upheaval for him and his family, so I don’t think he’ll be setting the world on fire against Leeds.

He is still a solid defender and takes the ball up well with a good offload so I’m looking forward to what he can offer, probably off the bench where his pace will also be useful against a tiring Leeds pack.

With the players we had missing, Wigan put up a good fight away at Castleford and could have snatched the game. We’ve won quite a few games by a point so I suppose we had to lose one sometime. If we play with the same commitment to each other we should be good enough to beat a struggling Leeds side who are fighting just to scrape into the top eight.

Hopefully we can put another nail in their coffin.

I also hope we get a good crowd for the game. It may seem harsh but I would be disappointed if people are choosing to stay away to watch a relatively meaningless game of football, with both Belgium and England already through, over Wigan v Leeds. Let’s get our priorities right and support our boys.

Darren Wrudd: Joe Greenwood was really promising as a youngster and soon made his mark. I hope to see him hit the ground running and bring some fire and drive into the back line.

A big unit like him can wreak havoc in the ruck and that would be nice. If we could see him with a work ethic like Willie Isa and the impact of Tony Clubb, then he will certainly cement his spot in the starting 13.

Tonight I want Wigan to add to the pain that Leeds are going through at the moment. There is no room for sentiment in sport and we need to go for the jugular.

It’s about time we sent the Rhinos home with their tail between their legs and our first game at home for what seems an age, is the best time to do it.

If we can show some maturity with our set completion, everything else will fall into place on the back of it.

What were your thoughts about England’s win against New Zealand in Denver?

Sean Lawless: The Denver test was a great spectacle, it was exactly the type of game that was needed for a new audience.

Granted, New Zealand were missing the likes of Shaun Johnson, but they showed that they had class at times; but I think Ben Thaler deserves a lot of credit. He let the game flow, wasn’t petty with his penalty decisions which allowed the game to played at a good pace – a very entertaining game for a new market.

Robert Kenyon: It was a good result, despite New Zealand tipping us to bits and off-loading in the first half they fell off in the second.

I stand by my comments of it being a waste of money. It is nice to play in Denver, but when will we be back?

Seven years time in the World Cup? I still think it should have been played in Toronto if we were targeting the Americas.

I’m all for expansion but we need a strong competition at home before we branch out more. We need to return to consolidating the game in the heartlands and growing the game in those

heartlands before trying to crack America, as we don’t have the resources.

Jon Lyon: After a worrying opening 20 minutes, and a huge relief New Zealand had a third try disallowed to prevent England going behind 18-0, I thought we controlled the game really well. Thirty two unanswered points against an inexperienced but enthusiastic and still talented Kiwi side is not to be sniffed at and it was good to see some new faces getting a chance.

Both Makinson and Connor looked good, which should give Wayne Bennett some food for thought for the test series at the end of the year, but Bennett being Bennett, loyal to a fault, I suspect even if John Bateman has both his legs in plaster we’ll still see him in the centre position come autumn.

Darren Wrudd: Wayne Bennett must take much of the credit for the selection of players he put together.

We had a more mobile and energetic side that the Kiwi’s put out and as the game wore on it showed how well thought out things were.

The players produced a professional performance on the whole and even though New Zealand dominated for a while, they trusted in their game plan which gave a comfortable win in the end.

John Bateman was quite impressive in defence and chimed into attack well considering he was out of position again, I particularly liked the restraint he showed when Isaac Luke stood on his hand on purpose.

Not long ago that would have sparked a real bust-up, but maturity paid dividends as the player was sin binned and England took control. Although I am not a fan of the location, it certainly has sparked a Three Lions attitude from the players led by James Graham’s determined statements and that can only be good going forward.

How do you feel about Shaun Wane leaving league to go to Scotland rugby union?

Sean Lawless: I think the Scotland job is the perfect job for Shaun Wane, high profile but less pressure.

He deserves the opportunity to have a high performance related job without having the constant scrutiny and pressure that comes with being the Wigan head coach. It is perhaps the perfect job for a grandfather who wants to spend more time with his family and get back to enjoying his work!

Robert Kenyon: Good luck to him, he’s been a great coach and will go down in Wigan folklore, he will be the benchmark coach for promoting Wigan lads, I can’t see there being any better coaches than him at that. I think he will succeed too in union, he has the desire to do so but would have thought he’d have wanted to do it at club rugby where he’d get more time with the union lads.

I’m a fan of union, it has improved massively and he’ll do well.

With regards to making the announcement of where he is going it doesn’t sit well with me that he’s stopping, I don’t doubt his professionalism one iota, but if he’s leaving he may as well go now. It’ll give him the best chance in his new job too, he would be starting at the start of their season and once we’ve announced who’s to take over, we are as well making the changes now but making sure we get the chance to say goodbye to Waney.

Jon Lyon: I’m a bit indifferent really. Now we know he’s going, to some extent it really doesn’t matter where he goes. It’s very much his choice and I wish him well.

I’m glad he won’t end up coaching against us, that’s one good thing, but it’s a loss to Wigan and now rugby league as well. He will be sorely missed.

Darren Wrudd: I think rugby league will be poorer for the loss of Wane.

He has a habit of being hungry to learn and improve, even as a head coach which speaks volumes of the kind of chap he really is.

That becomes infectious to the people around him and the honesty it breeds opens the door for improvements all the time, no matter who you are.

As for the destination, it does not really matter to me if I am totally honest.

Union has certainly landed lucky but unless he had gone to a competitor in league, I would not have anything to say.

I wish him luck in his choice, I just wish he had kept it to himself until October or announced it pre season, but I am sure he has his reasons for the timing.