Manfredi hailed ahead of Wigan bow
Teenage winger Dom Manfredi will become the latest youngster to make his Super League debut when Wigan Warriors take on Hull FC in Friday's Challenge Cup final rematch at the DW Stadium.
Manfredi will get his big break as part of a new-look Warriors side as coach Shaun Wane rests the bulk of his cup-winning team for the penultimate match of the regular Super League season.
Manfredi will line up alongside full-back Lewis Tierney, half-backs Ryan Hampshire and George Williams and fellow winger Joe Burgess, who have all made their senior debuts this year but boast just 10 Super League appearances between them.
With Pat Richards returning to Australia at the end of the year, Wane says Manfredi and Burgess will both have the chance to stake a claim for the number five jersey for 2014.
"Those two will be edging for next in," Wane told a news conference at Orrell.
"I'm hoping one will grab a spot for next year if we can't get anyone else. They are not far off.
"Dom will make his debut against Hull and I've every confidence that he'll show the Wigan fans he's a great player.
"He's an athlete. I rate him very highly and I'm looking forward to seeing how he goes.
"He's a bit different to Joe Burgess, who is more of a classical winger, whereas Dom is more aggressive and runs hard. He's a very powerful runner."
Wane has included just six members of his cup-winning team in his 19-man squad, with skipper Sean O'Loughlin and full-back Sam Tomkins among those rested.
Centre Darrell Goulding failed the mandatory head test after being concussed during Wigan's 16-0 win over Hull at Wembley but O'Loughlin is the most serious injury doubt for the play-offs after sustaining a fresh calf injury.
"It could be a week or two weeks with Lockers," Wane said.
"It's a new injury. It's in the same area in his calf but a different pull. We need to get it scanned on Monday and it will give us an idea of how serious it is.
"Sam had a niggle with his knee before the final and this is an ideal opportunity to rest him, to make sure he's right for the play-offs. He'll be fit for Leeds (next Thursday)."
Wane admitted that Tomkins, who has played only once in Super League over the last two months, was one of the players who carried an injury into the final and insisted the risk paid off.
"He might not have had one of his best games but he was competitive and he turned up when we needed him, especially for that last try," Wane said.
Wigan's youthful team will be captained by 25-year-old back-row forward Chris Tuson, who is in his final season with the club.
"Chris has been with us the longest and he's the most experienced," Wane explained.
"It's his last year with us before he goes to Wakefield.
"He was pumped when I told him. He will grab it with both hands and lead from the front."