Shaun Wane has hailed the unsung contribution of Willie Isa as the Warriors forward prepares for his first return to Widnes on Thursday.
The 27-year-old joined the Warriors in the off-season, after four successful seasons with the Vikings.
And Wane couldn’t be happier with the way the Samoa international has integrated into the Warriors set-up.
“Willie’s been very, very good, and I’m very glad we’ve got him,” Wane acknowledged.
“I think he’s an outstanding individual, he’s playing really well.
“He does a lot of things that not too many people would notice.
“But I’m really happy he’s in our team now.”
Wigan have won each of their last four matches, the most recent being a come-from-behind thriller at Hull KR at the weekend.
Wane’s men had their backs to the wall when they trailed 18-8 deep inside the final quarter, only for late tries from Anthony Gelling and Sam Tomkins to nick it for the visitors.
Although they’ll have to contend with a shorter-than-usual turnaround, against a side that played last Thursday, Wane says they’ll be ready to go on the night.
“Thursday, Friday, it doesn’t bother me,” the Warriors coach admitted.
“They’ll have had 24 hours more than us to prepare, but I’ll look after the players and make sure we go there in a positive manner and try and get the two points.
“Widnes are playing really well at the minute, and we need to go there with a confident streak in us.”
Wane is waiting to learn the full extent of the quad injury sustained by Dan Sarginson moments before the end of the warm-up at Hull KR.
That caused a last-gasp reshuffle in the backline, with Josh Charnley switching to the centres alongside fit-again Anthony Gelling, and youngster Lewis Tierney thrown in on the wing.
“He did a good job, Lewis,” Wane recognised.
“It was five minutes before the game started when Sarge pulled out, and Lewis was in.
“Mentally you’re not right, but I thought he did a great job.
“I also thought Josh was good, and considering Gells has been out for so long I thought he was great.
“We’d gone into the game very confident but, when something like that happens - and you end up with a winger in the centres, and a full-back on the wing - there’s disruption.
“But I thought we dealt with it really well and deserved the win.”