SHAUN Wane has laid down the gauntlet to his three-quarters – after boasts from the St Helens camp they have the best backline in Super League.
Free-scoring winger Tom Makinson – the competition’s top try-scorer with nine – made the remark in a recent interview, saying Leeds set the benchmark but “hopefully we can challenge them to be the best backline in Super League.”
Wane has made his own players aware of the comment and says they will draw extra motivation from it when the fierce rivals meet in Good Friday’s televised showdown.
He said: “There’s no doubt we’re under the pump.
“They’re telling everyone they’ve got the best backline in the comp’ and they’re unbeaten, so it doesn’t seem like there’s much point us turning up. So we’ll be going and having a dig and hopefully we can shock them.
“When they’re saying they have the best backline in the comp’, it just stokes the fire a bit.”
Asked if his players would have a point to prove, he added: “I hope they’ll take it that way.
“We’ve spoken about it and I’ve explained some of the comments coming out of St Helens.
“They do have some quality players in their backline, but so do we.
“We’ll put them under pressure and they’ll do the same – we’ll be going there trying to give a good account of ourselves.”
St Helens’ 30-28 victory at Castleford on Friday was their ninth straight win – and backs Jonny Lomax, Makinson, Jordan Turner and Adam Swift all scored tries.
“It was a very exciting game – probably the best team lost – but fair play to them, they’ve done something we’ve not done and got to this point without a defeat,” added the coach.
Wane’s backline will be missing Josh Charnley, his only major absentee.
Dom Manfredi has returned from a loan spell at Salford but Dan Sarginson is set to retain his wing spot after two tries against London.