SHAUN Wane admits the challenge of defending a title has caught some of his players by surprise – as he strives to add an aura of “invincibility” to Wigan.
The champions host win-less Hull KR at the DW Stadium aiming to wipe out memories of last Sunday’s 36-31 loss at Castleford.
And Wane believes some are adjusting to an uptake in intensity caused by last year’s Grand Final triumph.
“I knew how it was going to be, it’s been a real shock to some,” said Wane.
“I’ve watched all of Castleford’s games and when we went on Sunday, it was like a different team because they’re playing us.
“When Tony Clubb and Dan Sarginson have been there with London, it’s been a low-intense game. They go there with Wigan and it’s intense, and they have to get used to that.
“We should be proud of that and embrace it, but the down side is every game is a tough one and intense.
“We want the feeling of invincibility at this club, I just need the players to get used to playing that way.”
Wane has emphasised the need for a steelier defence in front of the Sky Sports cameras.
“To let in 36 points is not acceptable. The attack is fine, we’re scoring more points than at this point last year.
“But we’ve leaked too many points, and too many soft tries which I won’t accept,” he said.
“We’ve highlighted small areas where we need to improve, and they are only small technical things we need to fix, so I’m not stressed.”
Sean O’Loughlin, Darrell Goulding and Jack Hughes come into the team tonight, while Logan Tomkins should get a start in place of Mike McIlorum, who starts the first of a three-game ban which also takes in fixtures against Warrington and Catalan.
Wane decided against resting 31-year-old Matty Bowen, despite the five-day turnaround.
The former Kangaroos No.1 is still settling in as he attempts to show the Warriors fans just why he was such a crowd-pleaser in the NRL. “He needs to improve, but he knows that, and I’ve told him that. He’s getting used to a system which is completely alien, and I’ll give him a bit more time,” added Wane.