Willie Isa banned - what are Wigan Warriors' options?

Wigan have been dealt another suspension blow after Willie Isa was banned for two matches.

Tuesday, 6th July 2021, 3:40 pm
Updated Tuesday, 6th July 2021, 4:22 pm
Willie Isa

The RFL's match review panel charged him with a Grade C dangerous tackle on St Helens' Jack Welsby in the 24-6 loss.

Isa, who was sinbinned at the time for the offence, was placed on report for another incident when he collided with Mark Percival, but there is no further charge. Kai Pearce-Paul was cautioned but not charged for 'dangerous contact' which saw him sinbinned.

Isa will miss Wigan's next two matches, both against Huddersfield, at home on Sunday and away the following Friday.

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His loss will be offset by the return of prop Tony Clubb from an eight-game ban for "unacceptable language based on ethnicity".

But given Isa has been plugging a hole in the centre, his loss leaves coach Adrian Lam with a fresh headache.

With Zak Hardaker out with a neck injury, Jake Bibby covering for Dom Manfredi (knee) on the wing and both Jai Field and Bevan French unavailable due to injury, he has a shortage of outside backs. Wigan don't have the option of recalling Chris Hankinson from London, as explained in this article here.

He could opt to shift another forward, such as Liam Farrell, to the three-quarter line. Young James O'Donnell also performed well at centre against Wakefield recently, while Sam Halsall could be recalled from Newcastle.

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Alternatively, Lam may bring teenager Umyla Hanley back into the mix on the wing and move Bibby to centre.

That, though, would mean Hanley could not play at full-back - meaning halfback Jackson Hastings would need to continue in the No.1 role, rather than return to his natural position.