Wigan Warriors forward to make timely return in Grand Final as Catalans Dragons star gets all-clear

Wigan Warriors boss Matt Peet has confirmed prop Ethan Havard will return from injury in Saturday's Super League Grand Final against Catalans Dragons.

The 22-year-old, who made his England debut in April, has been sidelined since early July with a hamstring issue but is poised to make a timely comeback after replacing Cade Cust in the only change to Peet's squad.

"He's fit," said Peet at Thursday’s Grand Final press conference at Old Trafford.

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"There's always some risk attached when a player returns from injury but there's no way we would be putting him in there if he hadn't gone through all the relevant checks.

"He's trained fully this week at high speeds. The physios are well versed in bringing lads back from injury so he's ready to go."

Catalans head coach Steve McNamara will also select from a strong squad after Mitchell Pearce overcame an injury scare to help the Dragons to a dramatic semi-final win over St Helens.

The Australian half-back will retire from the game following the Old Trafford decider.

"He's been fine and is in a great place,” said McNamara.

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England prop Ethan Havard is fit to return for Wigan at Old Trafford. (Photo: Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com)England prop Ethan Havard is fit to return for Wigan at Old Trafford. (Photo: Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com)
England prop Ethan Havard is fit to return for Wigan at Old Trafford. (Photo: Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com)

"There was a bit of damage caused in the Salford game. We were fortunate to have the week off after that which gave him the opportunity to play in the semi-final.

"He's come through that fine. He's better this week than he was last week and is ready."

Pearce – a Grand Final winner with Sydney Roosters during a decorated career in the NRL – will bow out on the same night as former England captain Sam Tomkins.

The 34-year-old Tomkins plays his final game against the club where he made his name after bursting onto the scene as a teenager.

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Tomkins won three Grand Finals and lifted the Challenge Cup twice across two spells with Wigan.

The full-back set up the chance of a fairytale ending after scoring the winning try against Saints but McNamara believes the focus should be on Catalans' homegrown stars in the club's bid for a first Super League title.

"There's a lot of talk around Sam, his connection with Wigan and his last game – and rightly so," said McNamara, whose side suffered a narrow defeat to St Helens in the 2021 decider.

"But this game is about the French boys. Those boys are the backbone of our team and organisation. They're the heartbeat of our club.

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"They're the main reason this club has made such a transition from being an inconsistent team into a consistent team.

"If we get the win, it would have a big impact on the game."

Wigan Warriors 21-man squad: Field, French, King, Wardle, Marshall, Smith, Powell, Isa, Farrell, Smithies, Ellis, Havard, Pearce-Paul, Shorrocks, Mago, O’Neill, Miski, Hill, Nsemba, Hampshire, Dupree.

Catalans Dragons 21-man squad: Mourgue, Davies, Keighran, May, Pearce, McMeeken, McIlorum, Bousquet, Whitley, Seguier, Garcia, Da Costa, Navarrete, Chan, Romano, Ikuvalu, Taukeiaho, Dezaria, Johnstone, Ma’u, Tomkins.

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