SHAUN Wane’s overriding feeling was of pride despite Wigan’s three-month unbeaten run coming to an end at Warrington.
The Warriors boss was reflective but refused to be downtrodden in the wake of ex-Warrior Mickey Higham and Wiganer Chris Hill scoring late tries to snatch a 22-12 win for the Wolves.
Wane is yet to coach a side to victory over Warrington but thinks the manner of this defeat will stand his troops in good stead with eight regular season games left to play.
“I’m really proud but there is an overriding sadness that I thought we deserved something out of the game,” he said.
“This is a tough place to come and to do what we did today I thought was a great effort form our players.
“We pushed them really hard and it would’ve been nice to get something.”
Wigan went into the game missing nine first-choice players – Epalahame Lauaki, Blake Green, Paul Prescott, Ben Flower, Gil Dudson, Iain Thornley, Mike McIlorum, Scott Taylor and captain Sean O’Loughlin.
And Warriors’ treatment room could have two new occupants as Jack Hughes has a knock to his shoulder scanned today and Lee Mossop took a bang to the hip.
“Losing Lee Mossop we had no front rowers – it was a tough one to deal with. Jack Hughes is a centre and we had him in the front row,” said Wane.
“We had players all over the place but one thing I won’t question is their desire to win.
“I don’t want to take anything away from Warrington, they are a quality team, but they know they have been in a game. I am very proud of our effort and enthusiasm.
“I thought it was great considering we have nine players out and against a team like Warrington who are probably the form team at the moment.”
Wane is hoping to have his first-choice half-back partnership back for Friday’s visit of Castleford however, with Green edging closer to fitness.
“He’ll probably play in the front row,” joked Wane. “Mickey Mac also has a chance.”
Warrington led 10-0 at the break but Wigan tries from Sam Tomkins and Anthony Gelling put Warriors in front until the last five minutes.
The harsh manner of the defeat will be good for the development of the Wigan squad according to Wane.
“I’ve explained to them they need to understand this feeling,” he said.
“They are a very young squad and a very small squad compared to Warrington and to stay in that battle at the end of it is tough to swallow but they will get better form it and it’s made our club stronger.
“We had some really good performances but when I look at having two tries scored against us with kicks – we could’ve defended that better.”
With a three-day turnaround until a long-awaited return to the DW Stadium, Wane is adamant his men will deal with the pressure.
“We won’t have that much time on the field but they will be in a freezing lake in Eccleston on Tuesday to recover.”