Wigan Warriors boss explains absence of key duo in Castleford Tigers win as top spot retained

Ben Olawumi
Liam Farrell and Brad O'Neill

Liam Farrell and Brad O'Neill will return next week for Wigan - Alamy

Wigan Warriors head coach Matt Peet says there’s nothing to worry about where Liam Farrell and Brad O’Neill are concerned after the pair missed tonight’s 48-6 win over Castleford Tigers.

The Cherry and Whites registered an eighth straight Super League win in comfortable fashion at the DW Stadium with winger Abbas Miski crossing for five tries, grabbing a fourth hat-trick in his last seven individually.

Accordingly, barring an absolutely huge win for Catalans Dragons over Leeds Rhinos tomorrow evening in the South of France, Peet’s side ensured it would be they who held onto top spot on the ladder heading into the final week of the regular season.

And the boss delivered more good news post-match, confirming they’d head to Leigh Leopards next Friday night looking to secure the League Leaders’ Shield with a clean bill of health.

Wigan Warriors boss delivers positive verdict on absent duo

Veteran Farrell has started 27 games for the Warriors so far this term, crossing for nine tries. 21-year-old O’Neill has also played a key part for Peet, with the versatile forward featuring 24 times with 11 of those coming off the bench.

The boss confirmed both would return next week, saying: “Liam had a bit of a tight calf. We thought best not [risk him] and to rest, but he should be fine after a full week’s training.

“Brad coming out was an opportunity to get (Ryan) Hampshire onto the bench. We’re healthy and have nothing new coming out of this game.

“We knew we always wanted to refresh our half-backs at some point today too as they’ve both played a lot of minutes.”

Wigan did exactly that with Harry Smith coming off at half time with the side already well on their way to a routine win against a Cas side who saw their safety confirmed tonight despite defeat thanks to Wakefield Trinity’s golden point defeat down the road at Leigh.

Matt Peet lauds patient ‘Rocky’

28-year-old Hampshire, mentioned above, has had to be patient and wait in the wings for most of the season.

Re-joining the Cherry and Whites ahead of 2023, the utility had suffered an ACL injury last year during his time with the Tigers, the story of his career over the last few years.

Tonight’s game brought a first appearance since May 25, and though his future is still undecided beyond the end of this campaign, coach Peet had nothing but good things to say about the Wakefield-born ace.

The Wigan chief added: He’s earned it. Some of the senior players have been signing his praises, all the coaches. He’s really forced our hand and made us want to pick him.

“He’s played great for the reserves, and his attitude has been outstanding. We might need him again this year.”

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