Challenge Cup

1 Jun 2018

Wane wary of Charnley response

Wane wary of Charnley response

Josh Charnley is tipped to bounce back from his Dacia Magic Weekend nightmare as he prepares to face his old club Wigan Warriors again for a place in the last four of the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup.

Charnley has quickly picked up from where he left off after returning in impressive fashion from a brief stint in rugby union and will go into Warrington Wolves' quarter-final on Saturday needing just one try to reach 200 in his league career.

However, the electric winger hit a speed bump when he went up against his old team-mates in Newcastle, where he was outplayed by young gun Liam Marshall in the Wolves’ 38-10 hammering which ended a 10-match winning run.

Charnley, who scored 164 of his tries during his spell at Wigan from 2010-16, admits he got wound up by the tactics of his old team-mates, but his accusation of a lack of respect appears wide of the mark.

Wigan coach Shaun Wane said: “I love Josh – all the team still text him and stay in touch. He was a bit off at Magic, no doubt about that, but he can play.

“I don’t think we’ll see that kind of performance again because, before that game, nobody could get a hold of him.

“I’m sure he’ll be up for it on Saturday afternoon.”

Wigan full-back Sam Tomkins said: “It was strange playing against Josh. It was strange doing the preview and having to think about how we handled Josh – he’s always been with us.

“It was different, but we’re all professionals and, once we’re out there, he’s just another body.

“He’s a very talented player. He’s come back from rugby union with plenty of doubters surrounding him, wondering if he’d still be the same player and he’s scored about 100 tries! He’s proved everyone wrong so far.

“Liam has been given the chance because Josh left essentially and we’re lucky with got two young wingers in Liam and Tom Davies who are doing the job.

“It was a challenge against Josh for Liam, but he probably got the better of him. Again, it’ll be another great battle between them on Saturday, I’m sure.”

Warrington coach Steve Price is also expecting Charnley to bounce back and insists it will be a different Wolves outfit to the one which was tamed at St James’ Park.

“I think we all will have learnt from it,” Price said. “He wasn’t the only out there in that game.

“Whatever’s happened has happened, we’ll be a different team this weekend.”

Price is able to recall prop forwards Sitaleki Akauola and Mike Cooper and goal-kicking centre Bryson Goodwin, while Wigan are boosted by the return of skipper Sean O’Loughlin, hooker Tommy Leuluai and centre Oliver Gildart.

The tie is a repeat of last year’s quarter-final at the Halliwell Jones Stadium, a gripping contest that was decided by a drop goal from Tomkins, who is not expecting a repeat of the one-sided clash in Newcastle.

“I wish it was going to be the same as Magic, but I doubt it,” Tomkins said.

“Warrington are a good side, they didn’t produce on the day and we put in perhaps our best 80 minutes.

“We’re not going to be going there and expecting to coast, but we will be expecting to put in a solid 80-minute performance. Unless we do that, we’ll get beat.”