Liam Byrne absence explained by Wigan Warriors coach as Matt Peet praises debutant

Drew Darbyshire
Liam Byrne Wigan Warriors Alamy

Wigan prop Liam Byrne applauds the fans

Wigan Warriors coach Matt Peet has explained why prop Liam Byrne was a late withdrawal from his side that faced Huddersfield Giants.

Ireland international Byrne was initially named on the bench 90 minutes before kick-off but pulled out of the matchday 17 with a hip injury. As a result, Peet gave a debut to off-season recruit Tiaki Chan.

On Byrne’s absence, Peet explained: “He came in sore. He had a badly bruised hip which we were always going to take into the warm-up and see how he was.

“We always had Tiaki on standby to come in, so it wasn’t a massive shock to us. It was more of a see how he was in the warm-up.”

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Wigan Warriors boss Matt Peet shares praise for debutant Tiaki Chan

France international Chan came off the bench in the second half to make his debut for the club he joined on a three-year deal in the off-season from Catalans.

Chan is already somewhat of a fan favourite at the DW Stadium, and Peet shared praise for the 23-year-old debutant.

Peet said: “He made an impact and he’s going to get more minutes for us. It was the right thing to do when we looked back at that collision just to check him out and he was fine.

“He’s a good fella – exactly what we knew when we signed him – competitive, infectious personality, works very hard and is really popular amongst the group and the staff.

“He certainly adds something. We knew that having him and Tom Forber in tonight would actually lift the group because they’re both very popular and that’s how it proved to be.”

Academy product Tom Forber made his first appearance for the Warriors first team since 2022, filling the void on the bench left by injured hooker Kruise Leeming, coming on for the last 15 minutes.

Peet added: “He was good, I would’ve liked to have given him a little bit longer but that’s just the way it panned out with the sin-binning, and Brad O’Neill doing a great job for us.

“I thought you could see some of the subtleties in his play, when he put Tyler Dupree through for that try and some of his defensive contact was good as well.”

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