Wigan pitch Dobson into battle with deadly rivals
Saturday 27 May 2006
Michael Dobson is to be thrown in at the deep end of Wigan's relegation fight in the derby against table-topping St Helens today.
The fortunes of the game's greatest rivals have never diverged further, with 22 points and 11 Super League places separating Saints from last-placed Wigan. Into this fraught situation steps Dobson, not 20 until Monday and still without a first-team appearance in his native Australia.
He has been signed for the rest of the season on the strength of his form for the Catalans Dragons and is immediately entrusted with giving his new side the direction they have lacked this season.
"We are delighted he has signed, but it's important we don't put pressure on the kid. He has come to enjoy some football until the end of the year," said his new coach, Brian Noble. "He's well organised, he's exciting, he's quick, he has a good kicking game and for such a young bloke he has a good head to organise a team around the field."
Wigan are without Wayne Godwin, who has had stitches in head and leg wounds, but have Danny Hill and Nathan McAvoy available after being cup-tied last weekend. Saints' coach, Daniel Anderson, now says that Sean Long is likely to play after hinting earlier in the week that he would be rested.
The Dragons have released Dobson because they have their New Zealand Test scrum-half Stacey Jones fit to return against Wakefield today after a three-month absence with a broken arm. Jones was given final clearance to play yesterday morning, which means he will have a game under his belt before next weekend's Challenge Cup quarter-final at Saints. "I've just had a phone call to say he's OK to play, which is great news," said the Catalans' coach, Mick Potter.
Wakefield are without Jamie Rooney, serving the second of a two-match suspension, but the goal-kicking stand-off has signed a new contract to keep him at the club for another three years.
Newcastle Knights are refusing to release Brian Carney for Great Britain's Test against New Zealand next month. Carney joined the Australian club from Wigan this season and has been an immediate success.
"If the game was part of an official Tri-Nations we would certainly consider it, but for a one-off Test match we think it's unreasonable," said the Knights' chief executive, Ken Conway.
Carney's absence opens up the likelihood of a first cap for the St Helens winger Ade Gardner.
Cristiano Ronaldo buys agent Jorge Mendes a whole Greek island as a wedding present
Premier League 2015/16 preview: Club-by-club guide to the new season
Pedro to Manchester United: Louis van Gaal says £22m winger can turn Manchester United into champions
Can Arsenal win the Premier League? Is Raheem Sterling the answer to Man City's problems? Can anything stop Chelsea?
Pedro to Manchester United latest: Pep Guardiola backs his Barcelona protege to shine at Old Trafford
- 1 Sabrina Corgatelli: US hunting tourist posts picture of herself with dead giraffe after Cecil the lion outrage
- 2 Dutch King Willem-Alexander declares the end of the welfare state
- 3 A-level results 2015: UK exam board OCR admits it 'estimates' hundreds of pupils' grades after papers 'go missing'
- 4 Giant Minion terrorises drivers in Ireland as 40ft inflatable blocks busy Dublin road
- 5 'Cool kids' can go on to become losers in later life, study finds
Is Britain really full up? Are migrants taking our jobs? Leading academic answers the most common anti-immigration claims
Calais Migrant Crisis: Deputy Mayor of Calais labels Cameron's use of 'swarm' as 'racist' and 'ignorant'
Chris Leslie: Jeremy Corbyn's anti-austerity agenda will harm the poor, says Labour shadow Chancellor
Landlords renting properties to illegal immigrants to face up to five years in prison
While we fixate on Calais, the Home Office is quietly deporting dozens of migrants on 'ghost flights'
Calais crisis: The seven claims made about the migrants - and the reality