SHAUN Wane has lit the touch paper for an explosive clash at Widnes – admitting he is using remarks from their camp to dial up the intensity.
He says he has been made aware of comments from the Vikings camp that they plan to ambush the Warriors with a confrontational approach.
And he has not shied away from admitting he making a “big thing” from their intentions as he prepares his players for the first of a crunch, three-game run-in.
“I know Widnes have earmarked this game for a win – but so have we. So I think it’s going to be full-on,” he said.
“The noises coming out of Widnes, they’ve pinpointed this as must-win.”
Widnes have plenty of ex-Warriors links and while he didn’t divulge precisely what he thinks has been said, he continued: “It’s just something I’ve heard that’s sneaked out of their camp a few times.
“I don’t know if they’ve meant to or not, but I’m making a big thing of it, definitely.
“We will be going there really keen, they’re going to be really physical with us – but we’re going to be physical with them.”
Widnes are coached by Wigan legend Denis Betts, and feature many players with ties to the Warriors.
Wane has previously used remarks from other camps to motivate his players – often to positive outcomes.
He has targeted three straight victories to give his side a chance of nudging ahead of St Helens at the top of the league, going into the play-offs.
And their hopes are boosted by the return from injury of hooker Mike McIlorum and centre Iain Thornley.
McIlorum broke his arm in a 48-4 win against the Vikings in June, while Thornley hasn’t featured since tearing his pectoral on Good Friday.
“Micky brings an unbelievable amount of energy, toughness, skill... he’s a bit boost for us,” he said.
“He’s ready for a good hit-out this weekend.
“Iain will more than likely play, and I expect him to start where he finished, he was intense, strong, skilful, and played very much like Anthony Gelling is now.”
He will name his 19-man squad today, promising a strong panel than the one which won 33-32 last year. The previous year, a weakened side lost by a point.
Asked whether it was a tricky venue for his side, Wane replied: “I left six or seven players out last time and we still won, so it’s a bit more tricky for Widnes when they can’t win when we’re six or seven players down.
“I’m approaching this differently, it’s really important in terms of putting us in a good position to win the league leaders.”