Warrington Wolves boss Sam Burgess addresses potential Wigan Warriors bans ahead of Challenge Cup final

Ben Olawumi
Sam Burgess, Adam Keighran red card

Warrington Wolves boss Sam Burgess has addressed the incident which led to Wigan Warriors' Adam Keighran (square) being sent off

Warrington Wolves boss Sam Burgess insists he’d rather no Wigan Warriors players were banned ahead of the Challenge Cup final, even after Adam Keighran’s red card, but admits the Match Review Panel have a job to do.

Meeting seven days before their showdown at Wembley, the Wolves – who rotated their squad very heavily – were beaten 19-18 by a less-changed Wigan Warriors side in Super League on Saturday afternoon.

But despite having been on the wrong end of the scoreline, you’d have been forgiven for thinking Wire had won the game given the mood around The Halliwell Jones Stadium at full-time.

That was partly due to the pride being shown towards the young crop of Warrington aces who had taken to the field, with four senior debuts handed out, but also because Wigan are likely to be without Adam Keighran – and potentially others – next weekend under the arch after the Australian was sent off.

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Warrington Wolves boss Sam Burgess addresses potential Wigan Warriors bans ahead of Challenge Cup final following Adam Keighran red

Keighran was given his marching orders with 10 minutes of the Round 13 clash remaining for a high shot on young Wire winger Arron Lindop which would be better described as a forearm smash.

A suspension for the centre would appear nailed on, while footage has appeared of team-mate Tyler Dupree seemingly head-butting Warrington’s Sam Powell during a fracas in a ruck in the dying embers of the first half, so he too may miss out on an appearance at the national stadium.

Post-match at the HJ, Burgess addressed the potential of Wigan picking up suspensions on the back of Saturday’s league clash, saying: “There are a couple of incidents, aren’t there?

“People might not agree with this, but I don’t like seeing players miss finals because it dilutes the contest.

“We want them to have all of their players, and we want them to have the best team possible, but there is a Match Review Panel… George Williams missed a week this week for not much.

“There’s a system and a process there, so we’ll see what they do this week.”

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‘I want a great contest at Wembley’

Come next Saturday, Warrington will walk out under the famous arch for the first time since 2019, when they last lifted the Challenge Cup.

Wigan’s wait for a Wembley appearance has been ever longer. With their 2022 triumph in the competition coming at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, the Warriors have not been to the national stadium since 2017, and haven’t won there since 2013.

Both clubs recently announced that they’d surpassed the 10,000 mark in terms of ticket sales, with many more likely to have purchased theirs from the RFL already.

And it’s largely for that reason that Burgess doesn’t want to see bans handed out to anyone who would normally be involved, re-iterating: “I don’t want to add fuel to it.

“We all saw it (the incident which led to Keighran’s red card), but I want them to play their full strength side and I want us to have our full strength side.

“I want a great contest at Wembley, I want to give the fans what they deserve.”

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