Wigan boss explains Sam Powell and Toby King absences following derby defeat

Josh McAllister
Sam Powell, Matt Peet, SWPix.

Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com.

Wigan fell to back-to-back defeats following a 34-16 loss to St Helens at the Totally Wicked Stadium, with two notable absentees ahead of the clash.

Jai Field returned to full-back for the Warriors, who were defeated 46-22 by Catalans at last week’s Magic Weekend in Newcastle.

It saw Bevan French feature in the halves alongside Harry Smith, the fifth player to be named at stand-off for Wigan.

However, two notable absentees ahead of the clash came in hooker Sam Powell and centre Toby King, with the latter named as 18th man by head coach Matt Peet.

The Wigan boss admitted that the decision was performance related, with no fresh injuries to report for the duo.

Ahead of the clash, King had been ever-present for Wigan following his loan move from Warrington, scoring four tries.

Hooker Powell, 30, had also featured in all 14 Super League games so far this season ahead of the derby, as well as the Challenge Cup sixth round win over Leeds at Headingley Stadium.

Iain Thornley was instead given the nod to start in the centres, with Brad O’Neill starting at nine and Cade Cust on the bench.

Sam Powell and Toby King dropped due to performances admits coach

“It wasn’t injury [based],” Peet said.

“I’ve been disappointed with the way they’re playing.

“I thought Brad O’Neill made a good fist of it. I’m pleased with him.

“There’s players waiting to play when lads underperform and that’s what those two decisions were about.”

It was a dominant performance from Paul Wellens’ side, who have returned to their best in recent weeks, with Jack Welsby putting on a show on his 100th St Helens appearance.

The 22-year-old superstar scored twice on the night, while winger Tommy Makinson also added to his tally with a brace.

England international back-rower Joe Batchelor opened the scoring, with Agnatius Paasi also getting in on the action with his first of the season.

Meanwhile Wigan are currently without Willie Isa, Kai Pearce-Paul and Ethan Havard due to injuries, while Mike Cooper suffered a season-ending injury in the reverse fixture on Good Friday.

But Peet refused to let the injuries be an excuse as the side fell to their sixth defeat of the season, dropping them to the last play-off place on the Super League table.

Peet added: “Every team goes through these periods. We’ve not made a big thing of it, it’s clear that there’s some players not there, but that’s no excuse.

“I don’t think we did ourselves justice tonight. I thought St Helens were very good.”

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