Dropping Isa the toughest call I’ve made, admits Wane

Willie Isa missed out on the World Club Challenge
Willie Isa missed out on the World Club Challenge

Shaun Wane has yet to decide his team for Friday’s match with Widnes – but he knows one player who will definitely be included.

Willie Isa missed out on selection for Sunday’s World Club Challenge win, a decision Wane described as the toughest of his coaching career.

The forward had played the week before in a 26-16 win at Salford, but was squeezed out by the return of John Bateman.

And Wane said: “Willie will play this week against his former club – I’m gutted he didn’t play against Cronulla.

“It was probably the toughest decision I’ve ever made.

“It doesn’t bother me in the slightest making a tough call, but that one bothered me, because he’d done nothing wrong.

“I had nothing to show him to improve on.

“But Cronulla are a big team, and I needed a big bench, so I went with four middles.

“I explained the reason and Willie understood the reasons – and that made it even harder.”

Wane opted for a bench of Joel Tomkins, Ryan Sutton, Frank-Paul Nuuausala and Taulima Tautai.

All the players gingerly returned to the training ground yesterday following their World Club Challenge celebrations. They had a recovery session and will train only once this week – the captain’s run tomorrow. Wane has decided not to review their 22-6 win against Cronulla.

“I watched it this morning, and I’m still picking holes,” he said. “So I’m not going to do a review because it’d be a shocker, and I don’t want to kill the moment!

“It was a big win for us, for the town and for Super League. They saw the best of us defensively, but we weren’t outstanding. We can play a lot better, but we did enough to win a tough game convincingly.” Wane says all the players have asked to figure in Friday’s televised game but, as well as bringing in Isa, he may rest a couple of others.

Academy-products Jake Shorrocks and Joe Bretherton haven’t figured this season and may come in. He was also planning to watch footage of Swinton’s 35-28 loss to Bradford on Sunday to assess the performances of his dual-registration players Jack Higginson, Liam Forsyth, Tom Davies and Romain Navarette.