Wigan Warriors coach Matt Peet provides update on injured duo as Mike Cooper returns

Drew Darbyshire
Willie Isa, Ethan Havard, Mike Cooper Wigan Warriors Alamy

From left to right: Willie Isa, Ethan Havard, Mike Cooper

Wigan Warriors coach Matt Peet has provided an injury update on Willie Isa and Ethan Havard as well as confirming the return of key prop Mike Cooper.

Warriors stalwart Isa is facing months on the sidelines after suffering a fracture dislocation injury to his ankle in their 60-6 win at Castleford Tigers in the Challenge Cup quarter-finals last week.

Peet says they are still awaiting results which will determine the severity of Isa’s injury, but has no doubt the veteran back-rower will be an asset to the club off the field as he begins his road to recovery.

On Isa, Peet said: “We’ve been in touch over the phone, he’s had his appointments and whatnot going on so there’s no real detail to give yet. Obviously we know it’s gong to be a long-term injury, so further news will follow at the right times.

“He has an excellent mindset and an excellent approach to life in and out of sport, and he’s mentally very strong.

“I think at the moment we’re all just waiting until we’ve got all of the information and then we can look at the best plan of attack, but the thing I know about Willie is that he’ll respond in the right way and will apply himself correctly, and he’ll be an asset to this team, to this group of players and to this club regardless if he’s available to play or not.”

The long-term injury to Isa will likely give a starting role to rising star Junior Nsemba, who has featured off the bench 17 times in his 20 first team appearances so far – and Peet believes Isa will be a great mentor to Nsemba in the coming months.

“He would’ve done that anyway but it will probably narrow Willie’s focus,” Peet added. “It gives Junior more game time.

“It’s going to challenge Junior now and that’s what he’s ready for I think. Willie will be really good at supporting him through that, educating him and that’s just the kind of leader that Willie is and also Junior is very keen to learn. They’ve got a very good, strong relationship which is good for both of them.”

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Matt Peet provides the latest on injured prop Ethan Havard

Peet has provided the latest on key prop Ethan Havard, who has yet to feature in 2024 after sustaining a recurring hamstring injury in last year’s Super League Grand Final triumph.

The Wigan boss explained: “What it was with Ethan, he’s training and training well but there’s tests that he goes through just to check the symmetry and the strength between his two legs. At the moment, the leg that was injured is still not where we want it to be so we’re not going to take any risks around that.

“We’re probably going to give him another of couple of weeks longer than we first said, so he won’t play this week, won’t play against Hull KR but we’ll look to get him in the week after that.”

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Mike Cooper boosts Wigan Warriors

There is positive news on the injury front for Wigan though, with experienced prop Mike Cooper set to return in Friday’s game against Castleford at the DW Stadium after overcoming a knee injury he picked up in their World Club Challenge win over Penrith Panthers.

Peet said: “It’s great for Coops, he’s been working really hard behind the scenes.

“He worked fantastically hard to get himself right for Penrith, I was gutted he got that injury but the fact is he played a big part for us that night, so I’ll never forget what he did there and I’m looking forward to seeing him back out there.”

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