Wane ‘devastated’ with Saints loss

Sean O'Loughlin after the loss to St Helens
Sean O'Loughlin after the loss to St Helens

Shaun Wane is hoping the manner of his side’s loss to St Helens can be used as fuel in the build-up to next Friday’s Challenge Cup semi-final.

The Warriors are one win away from a third appearance at Wembley in six years when they face Hull FC at Doncaster, but on evidence of last night’s performance, will need to improve sharply to book their place in the Final.

Wane says his players are in for a week of hard work after disappointing him in last night’s 23-4 defeat.

“I’m devastated. We got what we deserved and the best team won,” he said.

“The smartest team won and we got dominated on the floor, we were poor with the ball and didn’t respect it.

“I’m disappointed with the players so we have seven hard days of work and turn up against Hull and attack differently.”

First-half tries from John Percival and Morgan Knowles tipped the balance Saints’ way after Lewis Tierney’s try and two Percival penalties had the scores locked at 4-4 with half-time approaching.

And it was missed chances which Wane was left to rue most.

“I thought for many parts of that game they defended their line really well and were the best team without a doubt,” he explained.

“We turned the ball over on play one, play two. We defend really well and then turn the ball over.

“We had some poor calls but I thought but without doubt St Helens were the better team - they wanted it more.

“We just need to be better with the ball.”

Wigan applied plenty of pressure in the second half but couldn’t find a way to make-up ground on the scoreboard before Luke Walsh scored a drop goal with time running out to seal the win, and James Roby twisted the knife with a late try.

“In large parts of that game I thought we did really well and put them under pressure but they just stayed with us for long periods,” added Wane.

“We had repeat sets in that early period of the game and then when we got the ball we just don’t commit to our plays.”

Frank-Paul Nuuausala’s home debut was soured by a sin-binning in the final 10 minutes for a scrap with Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, though Wane hadn’t spoken to his newest recruit about the incident before speaking to the press.

And ahead of next week’s Cup clash, he is hoping his players rediscover their spark in attack.

“We need to have some attack like we’ve had in the past few weeks,” he said.

“Our attack was off today and too many individual players had an off day.”

Wane, who was without seven front-line stars due to injuries and suspension, was worried over prop Dom Crosby after he left the field with an arm injury. He hadn’t played since last month’s win over Widnes, where he picked up an elbow injury.

“I don’t know if it was his elbow but if it is then he’s been unlucky,” said Wane.

He isn’t expecting any missing players to be available next week.