Shaun Wane has revealed just how close he came to calling off Wigan’s last match against Wakefield.
Their shock 62-0 drubbing at Belle Vue in April was Wane’s heaviest as coach.
The Warriors were already struggling with a raft of injuries when a sickness bug spread through the squad.
Wane admits he got an inkling they were in for a long afternoon when he saw how “ill” the players were after the pre-match warm-up.
And had they been as bad the day before – after their final training session – he says he would have spoken with chairman Ian Lenagan about abandoning the fixture.
“When they came in from warm-up I thought, ‘We’re under pressure’,” he said. “I knew we were going to get beat.
“I didn’t expect that score, but I’ve never known those circumstances before in a game.
“When they came in from the warm-up I can’t tell you. They were white. They looked ill, like they wanted to get back on the coach.
“It was too close to the game to (call it off) but had it been earlier, I’d have spoken to Ian about calling it off, it was that bad.”
Wane often uses past results to motivate his players.
But given the circumstances of their past result, he quickly drew a line under the mauling – and revealed it was the first game in his coaching career he didn’t review.
“We’ve not mentioned that game, because in all my career I’ve reviewed every game – but that’s the one game I’ve not reviewed because there’s no point,” he said.
“That just wasn’t us. Wakefield played really well and they enjoyed the victory and rammed it down our throats so we’re playing a different Wakefield team we’re a different team.
“The players will be hurting, there’s no doubt about that – no professional player wants to get nilled – but we haven’t mentioned the game. There’s no point.”
Wakefield have the worse defence in Super League, leaking 558 points this season.
And despite being seventh in the table they have a points difference of -141, the second-poorest in the competition.
“But on their given day they can turn up, and they have showed that this year,” said Wane.
“They’ve got some real good threats, their halves are playing really well, so we’re under pressure to stop them scoring – but they’re under pressure to stop us scoring.
“The players are very motivated and we don’t want to waste what we’ve done against a few teams these last few weeks.”
Wigan have won their last seven matches to move into the semi-finals of the Challenge Cup and climb level with Hull FC at the top of the Super League table.
They are widely tipped to win tonight, but expectations have been tapered by Wane’s selection woes. Several frontline players are missing through injury, including Tony Clubb, Anthony Gelling, Joel Tomkins, Liam Farrell and Micky McIlorum.
John Bateman and Lee Mossop are also absent through suspension, while forward Greg Burke has been allowed to leave for Widnes, in part to free up cash under the salary cap ahead of Frank-Paul Nuuausala’s expected arrival next week.
“I wanted to give Greg the chance to play regular first-team and I couldn’t guarantee that here,” added Wane.
“I have immense respect for Greg, he’s been a great kid, and it was a very tough decision for me to make, but it was the right thing to do.”
Macauley Davies and Kyle Shelford are set to make their debuts, taking the number of academy-products used by Wane this year to eight.
Winger Tom Johnstone is missing for Wakefield but their recent signing from the NRL, David Fifita, is in their 19-man squad.