Warriors turn to Dudson in injury crisis
Wigan Warriors coach Shaun Wane will give a debut to Wales international Gil Dudson in the Good Friday derby at St Helens as he grapples with a front-row injury crisis.
The Warriors are resigned to being without both Lee Mossop and Ben Flower for up to six weeks after they suffered ankle and hamstring injuries respectively in last Friday’s 40-20 win at Salford City Reds.
With Epalahame Lauaki still suspended and Stuart Fielden unlikely to play this season after undergoing knee surgery, it leaves Wigan with just two experienced props in Jeff Lima and Paul Prescott so Wane will turn to the 21-year-old Dudson for the trip to Langtree Park.
Dudson made 10 appearances in Super League with Crusaders RL last year but has been restricted to reserve outings and appearances on a dual registration for Championship One club South Wales Scorpions since moving to Wigan in the close season.
“He’s got a lot to learn but I’m comfortable putting him in,” said Wane.
“He understands what I need from him. He needs to concentrate and empty his tank. It’s 80 minutes where he needs to be full on.”
The Warriors also have major injury doubts over captain Sean O’Loughlin and goal-kicking winger Pat Richards, who missed the Salford game with knee and thigh problems respectively, and back-row forward Liam Farrell, who sustained a thigh injury against the Reds.
Full-back Sam Tomkins is also struggling to make the Saints game after being grounded by tonsillitis.
“We’ve had him on a drip,” added Wane. “He’s had blood tests and he’s got high-level infections.
“He played tough against Salford and it took it out of him. He’s struggling but he’s a tough character and if there is one game he wants to play in, this is it.
“I’m honestly not sure what I’m going to do yet. I’ll wait until Thursday and see who trots out onto the training field and that’s our team for Friday.
“Whoever we pick, they will be competitive. They will fully understand how important this game is. It’s different to any other game.”