Wigan Warriors duo sidelined for start of 2024 season as Matt Peet delivers comprehensive injury update

Ben Olawumi
Liam Byrne, Ethan Havard, Mike Cooper

Liam Byrne (Left), Ethan Havard (Middle) & Mike Cooper (Right) were amongst those mentioned in Wigan Warriors' pre-season injury update - Alamy

Wigan Warriors will be without both Ethan Havard and Junior Nsemba for the start of the 2024 season, though four others will be back fit and firing by the time they begin the defence of their Super League crown.

Bulgaria-born England international Havard suffered a recurrence of his hamstring injury having been fast-tracked into October’s Grand Final triumph against Catalans Dragons.

The prop lasted just 10 minutes on the Old Trafford pitch having come on as an interchange before pulling up. Prior to that, he hadn’t featured at all since July 7, and had undergone surgery on his initial hamstring issue.

19-year-old Nsemba meanwhile has had surgery this off-season in the form of a meniscal repair. Like Havard, he’ll miss the start of the upcoming campaign, but Warriors head coach Matt Peet hopes to have him back in contention by the end of February.

Wigan Warriors duo Ethan Havard and Junior Nsemba to be sidelined for start of 2024 season as Matt Peet issues comprehensive injury update

There’s more good news than there is bad for Wigan though, with a quartet of aces set to be ready for the beginning of the new season, as detailed by Peet on the club website earlier today.

Long-term absentee Mike Cooper is the first of those having been out of action since the Good Friday derby against St Helens at the DW Stadium in which he picked up an injury that left him requiring an ACL reconstruction.

The 35-year-old has been visiting St George’s Park, the home of England’s national football teams, for specialised strength and biomechanical testing sessions.

Harry Sunderland Trophy winner Jake Wardle will also be ready come the start of the new season after undergoing a clean-up of his knee in the off-season, while Ireland international Liam Byrne is well on his way back to recovery from a hamstring problem.

Byrne missed the Warriors’ final four games of the 2023 campaign with his injury, including their Grand Final victory against the Dragons.

Finally, Lebanon speedster Abbas Miski will be ready and raring to go, but has also had to have a clean-up of his knee this off-season. Super League’s joint-top try-scorer in 2023, Miski suffered an MCL injury in the Grand Final.

Delivering an overall verdict on how his squad are shaping up as we approach the end of 2023, boss Peet said: “We are pleased with how the lads are progressing as there is determination about the group to work hard and improve.

“The intensity has been high and we will look to go to another level in the New Year.”

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