Sunday’s Challenge Cup clash with Dewsbury offered Shaun Wane a chance to dish out a history lesson to his players this week.
The competition has a hold over the coach like it does for many fans, given its history and the fact with 19 successes, Wigan have won the competition more than anyone else.
Wigan took on Dewsbury in the first final to be held at Wembley in 1929, winning 13-2, and Wane hopes showing footage of Cup triumphs over the years will have made his players hungry to emulate that success at Wembley in August.
“We showed some footage to the players yesterday,” revealed Wane.
“They saw some video going back as far as 80 years ago - Wigan winning Challenge Cups.
“We showed bits of footage from most of our finals and I explained to the players, it might be black and white and it might be a different speed but players of that day were the best and we’ve every respect for them.
“We’re very, very proud of our history at Wigan. We understand the first one at Wembley was Wigan v Dewsbury and I’m very much into my history. It’s something we’re very proud of.”
But the past two seasons have seen Wigan’s route to Wembley blocked with shock defeats to Castleford in 2014’s quarter final and Hull KR at the first hurdle last season.
The 16-12 loss at Leigh Sports Village was Hull KR’s first success on a run that took them all the way to the final, and Wane admits memories of defeats, as well as wins, will motivate his players to get back to Wembley.
“We found that out against Hull KR - we had to change grounds and had a few strange decisions and then all of a sudden you’ve weeks off with the Cup and that’s depressing,” said Wane.
“Our history in this competition is second to none, we’ve won it more than anyone else and we loved it a couple of years ago when we beat Hull.
“A few years ago we beat Leeds and it is the best day of our lives. A few of the players spoke about that yesterday – how important this competition is to us and we’ll use that as motivation.”
Wane has won the Challenge Cup as a player, when he was on the bench for Wigan’s win over Halifax in 1988, as an assistant coach, when Wigan beat Leeds in 2011 and as head coach in 2013 against Hull FC.
And he is desperate not just to win the Cup again, but to avoid the pain of missing out on the final.
He said: “The year before that Cas beat us at home and I remember the few days after those loses were tough to deal with because this competition, Wigan… Wembley, it just seems to be a perfect match.”