The 18th Man Column: I hate to say it but I think Warrington will win

Two of our contributors picked Adrian Morley as their favourite Wolves player and, below, Wigan target Mitch Clark. Getty Images
Two of our contributors picked Adrian Morley as their favourite Wolves player and, below, Wigan target Mitch Clark. Getty Images

Wigan Warriors fans have their say

Warrington in the Cup – what are you expecting?

Robert Kenyon: I hate to say it, but I expect to be beat by a decent score. Yes we won against London but if not for the Hankinson try, I don’t know how that game would have gone if I’m honest.

Warrington are flying, they’re at home and with last year’s Challenge Cup final defeat they are chasing trophies, I wouldn’t be surprised if they went all out for the Challenge Cup this year. People may have blind faith but I’m a realist, judging from our season form I could only see us beating

Warrington with a full team.

David Bailey: Very little... Warrington and Saints at the moment are head and shoulders above all others for consistency.

Don’t get me wrong there are a few teams that can knock them off on their day and the Grand Final and Challenge Cup won’t necessarily be won by either side, but I just can’t see Wigan performing at the level of intensity required for 80 minutes to knock the Wolves out.

Darren Wrudd: I am expecting a stadium full of baying Wire fans who think it’s their year, a team who seem to be coached into a style of play which allows them to take cheap shots if they realise they are not good enough, and then I expect our boys to show them what it means to step up and play in the big games. We are getting better in the style of how we are playing, so with a rest and a good build up this week, we have every chance of coming home having booked our place in the next round.

Jon Lyon: A very tough match. Our forwards are going to have to up their game going forward for us to have a chance. We have struggled making metres for most of the season and Warrington have an impressive pack that will dominate us if something doesn’t change. Defensively we’ve been very solid the last couple of weeks but we need more go forward from our pack.

If we can throw the ball about we have a chance, our left edge with Gildart and Williams in tandem will be vital. George will need to get the better of Blake Austin, and if we can shut him down there’s no reason to think we can’t progress.

Does it bother you it’s on Sunday, and clashes with Premier League final day?

Robert Kenyon: Could they not have put it back a week? Do they look at other sports to avoid certain dates? End of the day, not everyone has Sky to watch the football, not all people are football fans and we are on terrestrial television but the floating sports fans will choose the football over us I reckon. But if an own goal if you ask me, more thought is needed when planning our fixtures.

David Bailey: Not in the slightest, it is what it is and most football fans in the north west and Yorkshire anyway are aware of rugby league in one way or another. Rugby league needs to attract fans of other sports too and it’s being broadcast on free to air tv so you never know.

Darren Wrudd: Couldn’t care less if I am honest. I really don’t follow football and so would not have known it was league final day if you had not mentioned it. As for Sunday games, it is a big step forward from Thursday nights. I don’t mind that at all really.

Jon Lyon: Ideally the game would be on Saturday, but as usual TV calls the shots and we have to put up with what we’re given. We take their money so we know how this works. It certainly still beats a Thursday night so it could be worse.

Wigan want Jackson Hastings and Mitch Clark – happy with those?

Robert Kenyon: I’d be happy with Jackson Hastings, I’d be even happier if he was partnering George Williams but sadly I think he’ll be Williams’ replacement. I just hope if Williams does go then at least go on loan, so that he can come straight back if it doesn’t work out.

I haven’t seen much of Mitch Clark to be honest, I will look out for him to watch him in more detail. I was hoping that we were in for Christian Welch from Melbourne Storm, I heard a rumour online we were looking at/talking to him, he’s a brilliant prop and on the verge of making his Queensland debut, his contract is up at the year’s end and looks to be squeezed out at Melbourne. He’d come at a price but he’d be worth it.

David Bailey: I don’t think either of them set the pulses racing being brutally honest but what I like about Hastings is his off-field personality. He’s a breath of fresh air on social media and seems like a guy who’s taking this chance he’s been given and giving something back.

Darren Wrudd: Hastings would be an amazing addition to any club in Super League and we really need a half back who can direct a side and lead it around the park. He would certainly bring that in his game as I think he is probably the best half in Super League at the moment. As for Mitch Clark, an uncompromising young forward. Some beef up the middle never hurt any squad and the extra pressure for places alongside the possibility of rotations to rest players could well help us too. I expect there to be others too with some prop forwards names being bandied around but they must compliment the squad and the way we play. So yes, I would be quite happy with both those signings with perhaps room for another big bearded forward in the line up.

Jon Lyon: George Williams is going to be a huge loss to Wigan next year and we are going to need a top quality replacement, and Hastings definitely fits the bill.

He has been a revelation since he moved to England, has a great all-round game and is also an inspirational figure off the pitch, getting fully involved with the local community. I would be delighted if he joined Wigan, and Ian Lenagan needs to move heaven and earth to make this happen.

Mitch Clark looks a decent player, nothing to get too excited about, but would do a good job for us as long as his injury worries are behind him.

I’m sure most fans would prefer George Burgess, who we have been tentatively linked with, but Clark is a budget version, and a much more likely signing.

Finally, if you could have seen any Warrington player in a Wigan shirt – past or present – who would you pick and why?

Robert Kenyon: Past, I’d go for Paul Sculthorpe who just edges out Iestyn Harris and Jonathan Davies.

I wasn’t old enough to remember Mike Gregory, and Andrew Johns shouldn’t count. Though Sculthorpe made his name at Saints he played for Warrington for a good few years and was a cracking player when he was there. One player I used to like for Warrington was Sid Domic, a quiet player and never had the fanfare but a solid player. Present, it would have to be Daryl Clark or Danny Walker, there’s two good hookers there.

David Bailey: The past players that springs to mind are Allan Langer and Andrew Johns, more for what they did in Australia rather than at the Wolves but two legends of the game who could have achieved great things at Wigan. Of the present players I’d love to see Ben Currie in a Wigan shirt despite his injury problems, he’s a class act and a Wiganer.

Darren Wrudd: There have been some great players over the years at Warrington, Andrew Johns for a short while but not a fan of his if I am honest.

Paul Wood would have been a fantastic treat to see in the Cherry & White. The prince of Ince was one of the most uncompromising forwards of his time and only Adrian Morley would top him from the ranks of the Wire faithful.

Mozza is legendary in his achievements having stormed it down under and led the way for many more English players to follow suit. A mountain of a man with great physicality, Morley would have to be my choice.

Jon Lyon: The best player I’ve seen in a Warrington shirt is Andrew Johns, but I would rule him out as he only made three appearances. Of their current squad I have huge admiration for both Stefan Ratchford and Ben Currie, and either would be a huge asset to our team.

Considering our go forward is where we are struggling, I would have to pick Adrian Morley. Anyone who can dominate in both Super League and the NRL is someone special and he would certainly get us on the front foot, presuming he stayed on the pitch!