WIGAN coach Shaun Wane is set to commit his medium-term future to the Super League champions by signing a new contract.
Wane, whose current deal runs out this year, has once more been linked with a move to the New Zealand Warriors - where he would link up with Sam Tomkins - and he has not ruled out a move in the future to the NRL, but says he has verbally agreed a new deal with Wigan chairman Ian Lenagan.
“I had a chat with Ian in America and we’ve agreed a long-term contract but it’s not been signed yet,” Wane said at the club’s pre-season media day at Orrell.
“I want to stay here for the next few years but I want to better myself, and if I can do that elsewhere, then it’s exciting, going to the NRL. It’s something I want to do.”
Wane, currently preparing for his third season as head coach, also revealed his ambitions to coach his country.
He was seen as a possible successor to England boss Steve McNamara when his contract ran out at the end of the 2013 World Cup.
McNamara has since been re-appointed as part-time national coach for 2014, but the Rugby Football League is expected to re-form the British and Irish Lions for a tour Down Under in 2015 and Wane says he would also be keen to perform that role.
“I would love to,” he said. “I know I can offer something to the job if it ever became available.
“Obviously they are fixed up at the minute with Steve but you never know what’s around the corner.
“I am very patriotic. I love my club and I love my country and, if ever I got the chance, it would be fantastic.”
Meanwhile, Wane is confident the Warriors can make a successful defence of both their Super League and Challenge Cup crowns after identifying areas of improvement and working on them on the club’s pre-season training camp in Florida. “The lads have come in really focused and intent on making sure we are better than last year,” he said.
“We didn’t win the league leaders’ shield and we lost seven of our last nine Super League games.
“It’s going be more competitive this year - Salford have made some great signings - and, with us winning the double, people are going to raise their game when they come to us. That’s going to be good for us because we need to be on the ball more.”
Wigan have signed Matty Bowen (North Queensland), John Bateman (Bradford), Dan Sarginson, Tony Clubb (both London), Eddy Pettybourne (Wests Tigers) and Sam Hopkins (Leigh) to offset the loss of Sam Tomkins, Lee Mossop, Chris Tuson, Paul Prescott and Harrison Hansen.
“The proof will be in the pudding but I can promise you the players we have brought in are of absolute quality,” he said.