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Warrington Wolves hooker may make 9s appearance ahead of International Origin
MICHAEL Monaghan has lost his race to be fit for this week’s visit of Super League champions Leeds Rhinos but could still feature at international level next weekend.
The 32-year-old hooker, who has not figured for Warrington since March with a knee injury, has been named in the Exiles 22-man squad, though, and may still have a chance to prove his fitness ahead of the International Origin Series opener against England at Langtree Park, St Helens, on June 16.
Wolves boss Tony Smith may include last season’s player of the year in Warrington’s squad for their final group games in the Rugby League 9s at Salford on Tuesday.
“We are really not sure if he will be ok to play for the Exiles,” said Smith.
“That would depend on whether he is passed fit to play in the 9s by the physios, which would be his first hit-out for some time.
“I would say that it will be down to how he feels after his first hit-out as to whether he plays for the Exiles or not.”
David Solomona will also be in the frame for a return in Wolves’ 9s side, his first competitive action since the horrific leg break he suffered iduring the pre-season training camp in Australia.
Wolves, meanwhile, will aim to bounce back from defeat to Hull KR against World Club Challenge winners Leeds Rhinos at The Halliwell Jones Stadium tomorrow, Friday, kick off 8pm.
Smith is still unable to name the injured Richie Myler, who is expected back from his elbow injury within the next fortnight, in the squad but has included Tyrone McCarthy and Mike Cooper after their absence from the 17-man squad that took on Hull KR.
Ben Harrison, who has to pass a head test after suffering a knock that led to him missing the second half at Craven Park, is also selected.
Smith will be requiring a huge improvement from his players after they let slip a 22-6 lead in a disappointing second-half display in Hull.
Leeds fared worse against table toppers Wigan, with the 50-6 demolition at Headingley being the first time they have conceded half a century of points in 16 years.
The results leave second-placed Warrington having to close a three-point gap on Wigan but Smith does not accept the scenario places a higher importance on beating Leeds as his side hunt for back-to-back League Leaders’ Shield achievements.
“Whoever is crowned league leaders will be decided after round 27,” said Smith.
“I’m not bothered whether a defeat on Friday leaves Wigan a gap at the top because we are just concentrating on performing well against Leeds.
“Wigan won’t be on our mind at all. We have got Leeds on Friday night and we need to perform against Leeds.
“We have all seen how performances turn around very quickly and last week has very little bearing on how Leeds will play on Friday.
“I am sure they will be looking for a response and so will we, which should make for a very good game.”