Analysing Wigan Warriors pack options for Leigh Leopards clash after suspension blows

Aaron Bower
Tyler Dupree, Matt Peet

They are one of a handful of clubs to not really have too many squad issues this year: but Wigan Warriors will have to undergo a reshuffle of sorts this coming Thursday.

The Warriors will aim to shrug off last weekend’s defeat to St Helens by bouncing back against local rivals Leigh Leopards, but they will do so without two of their frontline forwards due to suspension.

Liam Byrne will miss Wigan’s next four games, while Tyler Dupree is also out for the clash at the Leigh Sports Village on Thursday night. Here’s a look at the options Matt Peet has at his disposal.

Who’s missing?

As mentioned, Byrne and Dupree will both be absent for Thursday night owing to suspensions. Dupree failed in a bid to get his appeal overturned on Tuesday evening, while Byrne was suspended for four matches after the incident that saw him sent off in the derby on Good Friday.

Injuries are also hitting Wigan hard in the pack, too. Long-term absentees Mike Cooper and Ethan Havard remain out for Thursday night, meaning Matt Peet is without four frontline forwards to take on their local rivals.

LRL RECOMMENDS: Ranking Super League’s best winger candidates – including Liam Marshall – after Paul Wellens’ Tommy Makinson claim

What are the options?

Tiaki Chan Wigan Warriors Alamy
Tiaki Chan in action for France in 2023 – Alamy

Essentially, an inexperienced forward may well have to start on Thursday night.

Luke Thompson will start, and there could be the option to bring Patrick Mago into the starting line-up, but there’s no doubting that Mago is best served as an impact forward from the bench. His performances this year have underlined that, you would argue.

MORE WARRIORS: Jake Wardle on new Wigan contract, ‘really easy’ decision and his England ambitions

That would then open the door for the man who was Wigan’s 18th player on Good Friday, Harvie Hill, to come in for a rare start.

Moving Kaide Ellis out of 13 and into the front-row is also an option, but that would then leave Wigan with another big hole to fill, and another key player being moved out of a role in which they have excellent in Super League this year.

Presuming Hill comes in to start in place of Byrne, Dupree’s absence also leaves another hole on the bench for Wigan to occupy.

Junior Nsemba is already on the bench, and another young forward in Tiaki Chan could be next to step up, after being included in Wigan’s squad for the game on Thursday night.

Outside of that, there are quite simply not many options for Peet. He is certainly stretched when it comes to his pack for this week.

Possible line-up: Field; Miski, Keighran, Wardle, Marshall; French, Smith; Thompson, O’Neill, Hill, Farrell, Isa, Ellis. Interchange: Nsemba, Leeming, Chan, Mago.

NOW READ: The last 7 teams to top Super League after Easter – & what happened next