Warrington Wolves: Daryl Powell’s selection headaches continue as Sam Kasiano punished for dangerous contact

Josh McAllister
Daryl Powell and Sam Kasiano.

Warrington Wolves head coach Daryl Powell and impact forward Sam Kasiano.

Warrington Wolves head coach Daryl Powell faces further selection issues following the one-match suspension handed to Sam Kasiano ahead of Friday’s clash with St Helens. 

The 32-year-old overseas recruit was sent to the sin-bin for a shoulder charge on Ash Handley during Thursday’s 22-6 defeat to Leeds Rhinos at the Halliwell Jones Stadium.

Kasiano however escaped a suspension for the first half incident, with the match review panel notes stating: “Opponent drops prior to contact. Player’s arm is coming round to wrap. No contact with the head.”

The ex-Catalans forward has instead received the ban for dangerous contact in the second half of the Super League Round 17 defeat.

“The defender uses any part of their body forcefully to twist, bend or otherwise apply pressure to the limb or limbs of an opposing player in a way that involves an unacceptable risk of injury to that player,” the notes read.

It’s a further blow to Powell’s already-depleted forward pack, with James Harrison set to serve his second and final suspension this week following a hip-drop tackle against Castleford in Round 16.

Powell has made no secret of his desire of landing mid-season recruits in order to finish the year strongly, having opened the 2023 Super League campaign with eight games unbeaten to sit at the top of the table.

The Wire have now endured five defeats in their last six games in all competitions, including an exit from the Challenge Cup following the 14-12 loss to 12-man Wigan.

Recent results have seen Warrington drop to fifth on the Super League table, although they hold the same record as Wigan and Leigh above them with 11 wins from 17.

Adam Holroyd made his return to first team action against Rohan Smith’s Rhinos, having suffered a dislocated shoulder in March with the club’s reserves side.

And Kasiano’s suspension could see another youngster given their shot in the first team against the reigning champions this Friday, with the likes of Luke Thomas and Lucas Green waiting in the wings.

“Adam Holroyd came in and worked exceptionally hard for his second game back, but we’re having problems with depth,” Powell admitted after his side’s third straight defeat.

“Josh McGuire going made it difficult for us with Matty Nicholson being injured, and then Jimmy Harrison gets suspended.”

Daryl Powell facing selection issues

Marquee man George Williams is currently sidelined through a hamstring injury, missing the defeats to Castleford and Leeds respectively, while 19-year-old Nicholson suffered a finger injury earlier in May.

Josh Drinkwater returned against Leeds, although Powell admits the short numbers are having an impact both in training and on game days.

“We’re losing rucks consistently, which means we’re giving massive metres up and getting dominated in terms of territory.

“Earlier on in the season, we were winning everything in that regard but we’re nowhere near that at the moment.

“There’s different reasons for that but in terms of solutions, we’ve got to find one on the training field that translates to the training field.

“Our mentality and our work ethic has to improve.”

“It’s hard at the moment because I can’t take any middles out if they need resting or even dropping – I can’t do that.

“You’re then talking about bashing each other in training on five and six-day turnarounds, which is what we need to do to change what we’re doing, but it’s hard in the middle of a season.

“It’s not translating because our training time is not massive but I’m not making any excuses.

“Getting people like Jimmy Harrison, Matty Nicholson and George Williams back out there will start to make us look a little different, but that’s a few weeks away. It’s not going to help us next week.

“Our mentality and our work ethic has to improve.”

Outside-backs Matty Russell and Greg Minikin have been utilised on the interchange bench by Powell in 2023, although he has previously expressed his trust in the rising youngsters coming through the club.

18-year-old Green has made five appearances since making his first team debut earlier this season, last featuring in the 30-26 win over Huddersfield at home.

Kasiano’s suspension may open a chance for Green to return to Super League action, who will be undoubtedly willing to give his all to prove himself further.

Lucas Green ready for opportunity

“He was really strong, carried well, got the ball on the floor and punched his nose through so I was really pleased with him today, I thought he was exceptional,” Powell said on Green following the home win over Huddersfield.

“He’s done really well. He’s playing at a level that he hasn’t played at consistently so you sort of see him get done concentration-wise but who doesn’t? I think he’s done really well, I’m so pleased with him.

“I think he’s shown he can handle it and that’s what you want from a young player, for them to show they can handle the pace and physicality of it, that’s the biggest thing.

“Physically, he looks like he can handle it.

“He is a pretty impressive young fella as well so he’s done really well.”

St Helens go into the clash with five wins in their last six, climbing the Super League table to fifth position and just two points away from Warrington.

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