Wigan pitch Dobson into battle with deadly rivals

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.

Voices
The Sumatran tiger, endemic to the Indonesian island of Sumatra, is an endangered species
voicesJonathon Porritt: The wild tiger population is thought to have dropped by 97 per cent since 1900
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
Story line: Susanoo slays the Yamata no Orochi serpent in the Japanese version of a myth dating back 40,000 years
arts + entsApplying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Life and Style
Popular plonk: Lambrusco is selling strong
Food + drinkNaff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Gardai wait for the naked man, who had gone for a skinny dip in Belfast Lough
newsTwo skinny dippers threatened with inclusion on sex offenders’ register as naturists criminalised
News
Shake down: Michelle and Barack Obama bump knuckles before an election night rally in Minnesota in 2008, the 'Washington Post' called it 'the fist bump heard round the world'
newsThe pound, a.k.a. the dap, greatly improves hygiene
Arts and Entertainment
La Roux
music
Arts and Entertainment
Graham Fellows as John Shuttleworth
comedySean O'Grady joins Graham Fellows down his local Spar
News
people
News
Ross Burden pictured in 2002
people
News
Elisabeth Murdoch: The 44-year-old said she felt a responsibility to 'stand up and be counted’'
media... says Rupert Murdoch
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Extras
indybest
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

A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on
It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

Voted for by the British public, the artworks on Art Everywhere posters may be the only place where they can be seen
Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Blanche Marvin reveals how Tennessee Williams used her name and an off-the-cuff remark to create an iconic character
Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Websites offering your ebooks for nothing is only the latest disrespect the modern writer is subjected to, says DJ Taylor
Edinburgh Fringe 2014: The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee

Edinburgh Fringe 2014

The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee
Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

The woman stepping down as chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund is worried