SHAUN Wane admits the new competition structure will make him more “ruthless” this year.
The Warriors boss has never been afraid to give fringe players a chance, even at the expense of established stars.
In the past, he has allowed some leeway for dips in form or for young players to settle.
But his tolerance for scratchy performances has been shortened by the cut in the Super League play-offs from eight teams to four. And with their rivals strengthening in the off-season, Wane says he will be enforcing a stricter selection policy in 2015.
“Will I be more ruthless? Absolutely, 100 per cent,” he said last night.
“With the changes to the structure and the change to a top-four play-offs, we need to get a foothold in the competition quickly.
“To do that, it’s about playing your best and if you’re not at your best, you won’t be in my team. It’s a ruthless environment now – more ruthless than in the past. I’ve explained that to the players and said, ‘Look, if you don’t perform, you won’t get picked’. It’s as simple as that.”
Wane has voiced his concerns about the new system hampering the development of younger players – but does believe it will lead to a more exciting competition.
Wigan launch their Super League XX campaign at Widnes in front of the Sky Sports cameras tomorrow night.
“We explained the competition to the players in detail, they understand the need to win every game and I’ve seen a change in how they train,” said Wane. “There’s a bit more fight in them, and a bit more intensity – they know we turn up and start fast.” Asked could top sides afford to cruise under the previous top-eight play-offs model, he added: “Yeah, you could. But that’s gone now. And it’s going to make it more exciting.”
New signings Taulima Tautai and Larne Patrick have been named in Wigan’s squad.
Sean O’Loughlin has also been included despite not playing in any pre-season friendlies, but Lee Mossop is missing.