Widnes stupid over Gareth Hock, says Shaun Wane

 

Most of the pre-match build-up for today’s meeting between Wigan and Widnes has concentrated on a man who could be playing for either team, but will turn out for neither.

Gareth Hock joined Widnes on a season-long loan from Wigan at the start of the year, on condition that he did not play against his former club in any competition. That did not prevent the Vikings’ coach, Denis Betts, from complaining this week about the restriction. “They must be afraid of him,” he said. That infuriated his opposite number Shaun Wane, once Betts’ Wigan team-mate. “I don’t care whether Gaz plays or not,” Wane insisted. “We don’t make stupid and ridiculous remarks like Denis has done.”

Although Hock’s failure to settle at Wigan after they stood by him during his two-year ban for taking cocaine makes it highly unlikely that he will ever play for them again, it is they, of the two clubs, who could really use him this evening. A mounting injury list deprives them of Harrison Hansen, Epalahame Lauaki, Gil Dudson, Lee Mossop and Paul Prescott – all of whom would be bidding for places in the pack if they were fit.

There are also doubts over two other forwards, Chris Tuson and the in-form Wigan captain, Sean O’Loughlin, but better news of full-back Sam Tomkins, who should have recovered from a leg knock that kept him out of the narrow defeat at Leeds last weekend. The  19-year-old Welsh prospect Rhodri Lloyd is also added to the squad.

Another compensation for Wigan is that the second-rower who has effectively replaced Hock, Liam Farrell, has been the best forward in Super League so far this season.

Widnes were without Hock at the Catalan Dragons last week, while he served a one-match suspension after being sent off for dissent against Bradford. It says something about his ability that he can figure so heavily in the calculations for another game in which he is not playing.

The Bulls and the Dragons are in a log-jam of teams on eight points, just behind the league leaders, and they meet in Perpignan today. The Catalans are still without Brent Webb and Scott Dureau, so much of the organisational responsibility will rest upon former Bradford stand-off Leon Pryce. Bradford have Matt Diskin and Chev Walker back after injury.

At Twickenham, Tony Rea names an unchanged London Broncos squad to face Hull after the confidence boost of last weekend’s win at Castleford.

Saturday’s only game was supposed to be Cas’ trip to Hull KR, but Wakefield, whose game at home to Leeds was snowed off Friday, are now hoping to stage it on Saturday afternoon.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee