Powell set for Warriors bow
Wigan Warriors coach Shaun Wane will provide a glimpse into the future on Friday when he gives a debut to exciting youngster Sam Powell against Hull FC in a team led by Sam Tomkins.
The 19-year-old Powell will get his chance in the absence of Australian stand-off Brett Finch, who has been ruled out with a hamstring injury sustained in last Friday’s 40-16 win over Castleford Tigers.
Powell, who has come through the ranks at Wigan, would have had a run earlier this season but for breaking a leg in the Under-20s and Wane is predicting a big future for him.
“I’m excited to see how he goes,” Wane told a news conference at Orrell.
“If he hadn’t broken his leg, I’d have rested Finchy and Tommy Leuluai before now and played him because he’s the next in and he’ll be playing next year.
“He’s a Wigan-born lad and he’s a great kid to have around. He loves being coached by us and always wants information from us.
“He’s very skilful and defensively he’s tough. It’s his debut so I’m not going to pile a load of pressure on him but I expect him to do a halves’ job which is to direct us around the park.”
Finch, who is returning to Australia at the end of the season, will miss his first Stobart Super League game of the season after damaging a hamstring.
“He kept quiet about it and told us about it after the game,” said Wane. “That was special.”
Finch captained the Warriors against the Tigers in the absence of loose forward Sean O’Loughlin, who is still struggling to get over his hamstring injury.
“It’s not really cleared up,” added Wane. “If something was to go wrong, it would be six weeks and I’m not prepared to risk that.”
Wane said he had no hesitation in handing the captaincy to the 23-year-old Tomkins.
“I see Sam as our long-term captain when Lockers moves to one side,” he said. “Sam is a Wigan-born lad and loves it here.
“He’s a good leader, he inspires people so I’m comfortable making him captain. I’ve no concern about his age whatsoever. He was ready for it two years ago. He’s a very old head on him.”
Wigan will also be without forward Ben Flower, who pulled a hamstring against Castleford, and centre Darrell Goulding, who was unconscious for two minutes after taking a head knock last Friday.
“He’s not good,” said Wane. “He’s worse today than he was after the game.”