SHAUN Wane has been busy making sure Wigan’s NRL recruits know what it means to win the Good Friday derby.
While there are also new faces from Super League, such as Tony Clubb, Dan Sarginson and John Bateman, each has experience of watching Wigan take on St Helens, and know a little more about what beating the old enemy means to fans.
But tomorrow will be Matty Bowen and Eddy Pettybourne’s first taste of competitive action against St Helens.
“I’m trying to make sure Matty and Eddy know what it means to Wigan people to win this game,” said Shaun Wane.
“Keiron (Cunningham) will be doing the same over there (at St Helens).
“We need to be at our best, each individual has to be at their best.”
Bowen and Pettybourne both featured in Wigan’s 28-16 pre-season friendly win at Langtree Park in January but since then Saints have stormed to nine straight wins, including eight in Super League and a nervy negotiation of the Challenge Cup fourth round at Huddersfield.
While Wigan sit fourth, having by their own admission not yet reached the levels of intensity which saw them lift a league and Cup double last season, Wane is confident his players can produce a performance to preserve their unbeaten record over Easter since a loss at Catalan Dragons on the bank holiday Monday of 2009.
“If we’re consistent with our attack we’re going to burn a team. I was hoping it was going to be last Friday (against London). Hopefully it will be this Friday.”
As a Wiganer and former player, Wane shares the same passion surrounding the derby match as most fans, becoming animated when the subject of St Helens is brought up.
With Nathan Brown’s team yet to lose a competitive match this term, Wane admits there is added incentive to leave Langtree Park with their second Super League win in three attempts.
“I’d be lying if I said it wouldn’t be nice and that’s a motivational factor for us,” said Wane about ending St Helen’s streak.
“Fair play to them, they’ve done something we’ve not done, at this stage of the year, it is a motivational factor for us. For me.”
He also acknowledges that playing St Helens is more than just about climbing the table.
“This is more than two points,” he added.
“There’s no doubt about that we have a lot of respect for them and there’s a fierce rivalry.
“We will want to win at all costs and they’ll feel the same way.”
Wane is also looking forward to pitting Pettybourne against Saints’ monster signing Mose Masoe, who Wane admits to ‘looking at’ when Wigan were recruiting.
“ We looked at big athletic bodies, I was happy with Eddy, so I’m not stressed.
“They’re a quality team, we’ll coached and unbeaten so we’re under the pump.”