SHAUN Wane admits he had “a sneaky feeling” Wigan would need to overcome Leeds to reach the Grand Final.
The Warriors coach attended the ClubCall announcement at the Halliwell Jones Stadium yesterday to learn their fate.
Warrington had the honour of choosing their semi-final opponents from the weekend’s winners - and opted for league leaders Huddersfield. That means Wigan must overcome Leeds on Friday if they are to reach Old Trafford the following week.
Wane said: “I had a sneaky feeling they might go with Huddersfield.
“Whichever way it is, it was going to be a tough game. We’ve been preparing to play both teams, we’re all set in our preparations.
“It’s quite easy because we’ve played both teams in the last few weeks. Everything is in place for Friday.”
Wane was glad he didn’t have the ClubCall ‘honour’, admitting it is a difficult decision for a coach to face. Though not a critic of the controversial concept, he had hoped it could have been made soon after Leeds’ victory over St Helens, rather than wait two days.
“I think they could have done it on Friday night, and given us an extra couple of days to prepare and know who we’re up against,” he said.
Leeds, champions for the past two years, knocked Wigan out of both competitions at the semi-final stage in 2013.
The two sides have served up some exciting contests in recent seasons, and Wane said: “Leeds are a good team, they’re very experienced and they’ve played in these big games – and you can’t buy that.
“But we’ve played in big games recently, in the Challenge Cup and by beating Huddersfield last time out (in the opening round of the play-offs), and hopefully that helps us.
“It’s a big test, I’ve got a lot of respect for Leeds. But I’m confident if we play to our ability we’ll give ourselves a chance.”
Tickets are on general sale for Friday’s match, with all juniors just £5.
Season ticket holders are reminded they qualify for a £2 discount if they buy tickets before close of play on Wednesday.
“Our fans have been great this year and I want them to be really vocal,” added Wane.