Warriors v Hull KR preview

Taulima Tautai
Taulima Tautai

Shaun Wane is expecting a battle of attrition between two “busted” teams tonight.

Wigan face Hull KR aiming to keep the pressure on leaders Warrington - ahead of their heavyweight showdown on Friday.

The Wolves fixture is undoubtedly the most exciting of the two fixtures but Wane is putting on the blinkers and refusing to take this evening’s opponents for granted.

He said: “It will be tough for both sides to back up from their derbies on Friday.

“Both have got injuries, both squads are busted so it’s going to be a real test of the players’ character.

“Hull KR have some good players in their side and I watched their game on Friday, for an hour they were the better team.”

Wane reviewed their own derby game and said the footage reinforced his opinion that the 24-12 scoreline didn’t reflect the Warriors’ dominance.

“It was not a 12 point game,” he said. “We were really pleased with the win – we know how important it is – but we also recognise there’s improvement in us.”

Winger Dom Manfredi scored one try and frequently impressed against Saints, and Wane was also pleased with the contribution of Taulima Tautai. The Australian proved an imposing figure and frequently troubled the hosts with his powerful runs.

By his own admission, former Wakefield and Parramatta player Tautai didn’t show fans his best form in his first year with Wigan.

But he has shown signs of continued improvement and Wane said: “When he came to us he hadn’t defended in our system before, now he’s forcing errors.

“And when he’s got the ball he’s a real handful.

“There are still a couple of errors in his game and they’ll go, and at the moment I’m really happy with what he’s doing.

“You want your bench to make an impact and he’s certainly helping us do that.

“All of our middles have done well this year and T has played his part.”

Hull KR took a 20-0 lead against Hull FC approaching the hour-mark, before allowing their city rivals to claw their way back and snatch a 22-20 victory. And that derby came at a cost with four players picking up injuries, including goal-kicking winger Josh Mantellato and halfback Albert Kelly. Captain Terry Campese is still sidelined with a hamstring injury.

Former Wigan players Iain Thornley and James Greenwood are included in a Hull KR squad featuring four Under-19s players. But Wigan are missing seven frontline players themselves as they look to begin to reassert their authority at the DW Stadium, following their 18-12 loss to Widnes in their last home outing.

Luke Waterworth will make his debut and Lewis Tierney will return in the only expected changes to the derby side. Wigan, who have lost just once this season, are two points behind unbeaten Warrington.