Well the draw was certainly kind to Wigan as they get to launch
their defence of the Challenge Cup with a home tie against
Championship One opposition.|
Of course it only seven months ago
that we welcomed the previous incarnation of the "Crusaders" for a
Super League match here at DW Stadium but this new incarnation is
a far cry from the side that
lost 42-10 on that night.
Its a shame really that they were such a mess off the field,
because on the field I think they did well. First season was tough
but making the play offs in 2010 was massive and despite being low
in the table last year, I don't recall them getting hammered too
often. Even in the Four Nations last year I didn't think Wales disgraced themselves at all. They competed as good as could of been expected.
The sheer fact that Wigan took on three of their players - Ben
Flower, "Henderson" Gil Dudson and impressive academy prospect
Rhodri Lloyd - highlights how well they did. It's just a shame
really that the RFL rushed them into Super League far too soon.
Had they waited until this current licensing round I think we
would have had a really strong and viable Welsh outfit now on a
par maybe with how Catalan Dragons inwere when they started in
Now this Crusaders side have been relegated, effectively twice,
they are almost back to square one but I hope the development of
talent in North and South Wales continues. I mean, Wrexham was
always a cracking trip on the two occasions we visited and their
support, albeit small in number, always proved passionate and I'm
sure they'll show it in the North corner of the East Stand on
Shaun Wane has chosen to rest Brett Finch, Harrison Hansen and
Jeff Lima for this contest which I think is absolutely spot on
myself. Finch has played every game this season whilst Hansen
literally battered himself last week so if anyone deserves a rest
it's him. In Lee Mossop's absence, Jeff Lima's involvement is even
more imperative for me so I think rested him is wise also.
The key to resting those though is that we don't go too far
like we did against Widnes. Keep Sam and Tommy out on the park and
we have more than enough to beat this Welsh side. Then once the
game is won you can wrap those two up in cotton wool on the bench
and do a bit of experimenting hopefully in the later stages of the
Wane has the luxury of welcoming back Liam Farrell but Sean
O'Loughlin won't be risked ahead of our league trip to the
unbeaten at home Hull FC. He also has Matty Russell replacing
Anthony Gelling (no idea what's up with Gelling) whilst adding
Ryan King and Dom Crosby to the 19.
It'll be interesting to see who he omits from the 19 in the
end. I'd like to see both King (winger) and Crosby (prop forward)
get a game. Both would have been given a run out in pre season at
least I'm sure this year but for injuries, however its hard to
pick who you would leave out to play these two.
Whatever the team I can't say I'm too worried about the
opposition. I'd back them to be spirited enough to claim perhaps a
try or two but we will have too much class for them. We just need
to do a professional job to get ourselves in the hat for the Round
5 Draw which is on Monday at 3:00pm.
||Liam Farrell, Matty
Russell, Ryan King, Dom Crosby
Harrison Hansen, Jeff Lima, Anthony Gelling
Sam Tomkins, Josh Charnley, Darrell Goulding,
George Carmont, Thomas Leuluai, Paul Prescott, Michael McIlorum, Gareth Hock,
Liam Farrell, Chris Tuson, Epalahame Lauaki, Gil Dudson, Joe Mellor, Jack
Hughes, Matty Russell, Logan Tomkins, Ryan King, Tom Spencer, Dom Crosby.
Tommy Johnson, Adam Walsh, Sam Broadbent, Leon Brennan, Rob Massam,
Billy Sheen, Jamie Durbin, Jonny Walker, Lee Hudson, Owain Brown,
Jamie Clarke, Jono Smith, Iwan Brown, Owain Griffiths, Chris
Tyrer, Mark Harmon, Simon Stevens, Chris Lunt, Chris Kinsey.