MATTY Bowen is set to come in from the cold this weekend.
The Australian No.1 hasn’t played for Wigan – or indeed, any other team – for more than two months.
But Shaun Wane will thrust him back into the side for Saturday evening’s clash at Catalans Dragons.
Ryan Hampshire had dislodged Bowen from the full-back berth after a 26-14 loss at Leeds – and held onto the role for nine successive games.
But he has paid the price for a shaky display in the 16-12 loss against Hull KR last Friday night, a result which dumped Wigan out of the Challenge Cup.
Wane will name his 19-man squad today, with Bowen certain to be including in the touring party which jetted out to Barcelona. A former Queensland and Australia representative, Bowen has handled his omission from the side impeccably by working closely with Hampshire and Lewis Tierney.
I can’t tell you how absolutely pleased I am with him, he’s a chance of playing this week and I want to reward him after the way he’s handled himselfShaun Wane
“I can’t tell you how absolutely pleased I am with him, he’s a chance of playing this week and I want to reward him after the way he’s handled himself,” said Wane.
“The way he’s helped the kids, never spat the dummy out... and been professional. He’s had a lot of influence on Rocky and Lewis.”
Bowen joined Wigan ahead of last season after a stellar career in the NRL with North Queensland Cowboys.
He replaced Sam Tomkins in the No.1 short and, after a slow start, began to show fans just why he was such a crowd-pleaser Down Under.
His electric bursts earned him a contract extension for this season and he played in six of the first seven matches before making way for ‘Rocky’ Hampshire. The 33-year-old will leave Wigan at the end of this season, to be replaced by Tomkins, and is set to return to his former club Cowboys in an off-field role.
Meanwhile, Wane cast fresh light on Liam Farrell’s injury situation and says he expects to be without him for “a few weeks”.
The England forward suffered slight damage to his cheekbone and a mild concussion, in addition to a badly broken nose, in the loss to Hull KR at Leigh Sports Village.
Welshman Rhodri Lloyd may replace him at some stage, but Wane was last night leaning towards switching Larne Patrick to the second-row on Saturday to try and combat Catalans’ fiery pack.
Patrick’s front-row spot would be taken by the return of Ben Flower from a hamstring injury.
Tony Clubb, Anthony Gelling, Dom Manfredi and Iain Thornley are out injured.