WIGAN’S players reported back for pre-season training yesterday with Shaun Wane declaring himself delighted – though not surprised – by their commitment.
Four Nations representatives Thomas Leuluai, Sam Tomkins and Mike McIlorum were the only members missing from the squad as they had their first official session under Wane as head coach.
But many of them had turned up last week for optional extra sessions to better prepare themselves for a gruelling winter, and Wane says none of them have let themselves go during their six-week break. Wane said: “I’m really pleased with the way they’ve come back.
“They’ve all looked after themselves, and that’s not surprised me at all – that’s what I expected.”
New recruit Epalahame Lauaki, the former Hull FC prop, was among those at training, while all the Australian contingent are back in the country after breaks Down Under.
Lee Mossop, Josh Charnley and Liam Farrell were also in training even though they could have had more time off owing to their involvement with England Knights.
“They wanted to come back in,” said Wane.
The first-team squad headed to the University of Central Lancashire in Preston yesterday for fitness testing at their state-of-the-art sports science facility.
Wane said: “The testing is not about us being Big Brother and checking up on them, it’s to see where they’re at.
“The training will be a bit more individual to make sure we’re giving them what they need.”
Wane says his pre-season will be different from the past two under Michael Maguire’s watch, with a greater emphasis on skills work and speed across the board.
He said: “Speed is the big one for me. It doesn’t matter what position they play, I want the players faster, agile and more mobile.
“These players will do more work on their speed than they ever have done.
“It doesn’t matter if you’re a winger or a front-rower, I want them running hard and fast.” Welsh forwards Ben Flower and Gil Dudson are yet to join the squad.
Their signings have still not been confirmed by the club – even though their pending arrivals have been reported for several weeks.
The club may announce their captures soon now the pair’s Four Nations commitments are over.
New assistant coach Iestyn Harris will also link-up with the squad.
Leuluai and Tomkins will report back ahead of a pre-season camp in Florida next month.
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