SHAUN Wane expects Leigh to give his young players a “great test” as they step up their preparations for the new campaign.
The Warriors face their borough rivals at the Sports Village (kick-off 3pm) in their first hit-out of 2016.
Wane’s squad is dominated by academy-graduates and he says facing more experienced opposition will provide a good gauge of their development.
Leigh have splashed the cash in pursuing their Super League dreams, recruiting stars including ex-Man of Steel Rangi Chase, Gareth Hock, Fuifui Moimoi and former Australian internationals Willie Tonga and Reni Maitua.
“You look at their team and they have quality throughout the squad,” said Wane, who has handed coaching duties to assistant John Winder for this match.
“Rangi Chase is a former Man of Steel, Gareth Hock and Micky Higham have played for England, they have ex-Australia and Kiwi internationals, Cory Paterson was in the NRL not long ago... they are players who’ve been at the highest level. I’m not getting too het up about it, but for our young players especially it’s good to be going up against high-quality players, it’s a great test for them.”
Wane has put a strong emphasis on performance, rather than the result.
“It’s the first hit out so we’re going to be sensible with the amount of minutes they all play,” he added.
“I wouldn’t read too much into the result, it’s more about looking at certain aspects of the performance.”
Josh Ganson – son of ex-referee Steve – is in the squad, as well as the late Adrian Shelford’s son, Kyle.
Lewis Tierney (Jason Robinson) and Oliver Gildart (Ian Gildart) are also sons of ex-Wigan players.
“It’s nice that some are from good stock and I understand why some people take an interest in things like that,” added Wane.
“But I judge them on their own merits and they are quality individuals pushing for first team spaces.”
Tickets for the match are £20 for adults and fans can pay on the day.
Wane is expected to field a stronger squad in their other senior friendly, at Salford the following Sunday.
They launch the season with a home game against Catalans on February 5.