Catalans the perfect test, says Wane

Shaun Wane is a huge admirer of Greg Bird
Shaun Wane is a huge admirer of Greg Bird

Shaun Wane reckons today’s opponents Catalans will give his players the perfect work-out ahead of the new campaign.

The French outfit are renowned for being tough to beat on home turf – Wigan were one of four sides who achieved that feat last year.

And Wane expects their powerful pack in the middle, and their stylish attacks out wide, to give his side’s defence a thorough test in their second and final pre-season friendly.

He said: “Catalans are a very good side. They throw a lot at you, and test you, in all areas of the field, and that’s just what we need at this stage of our pre-season.

“At the same time, we’ve been working on trying to perfect some things in attack, and I’ll be looking for us to do that.

“As long as I see us put what we’ve practiced into action, I’ll be happy.”

Catalans, who lost a friendly at Toulouse last week, have overhauled their squad in the off-season with Todd Carney, Dave Taylor and Glenn Stewart among their high-profile departures.

But Wane expects them to be just as strong, pointing to the experience and class of two of their NRL recruits, Greg Bird and Sam Moa, who are both in the squad for today’s friendly (kick-off 4pm English time).

“I know Sam personally from when he was at Hull FC, he did a great job for the Roosters and he’s very hard to stop,” said Wane.

“And Greg Bird wasn’t just great for Catalans last time he played for them, he’s been doing well for New South Wales and the Gold Coast Titans. He’s a fantastic player, and someone I admire a lot.

“It’s great to have players of that calibre in Super League.”