Wrong to criticise Wane, says Charnley

Josh Charnley with Jack Johnson last week
Josh Charnley with Jack Johnson last week

Josh Charnley is determined to sign off his Wigan career with a Grand Final victory - as a farewell present for coach Shaun Wane.

The 25-year-old is preparing to play his last game for the Warriors before embarking on a new career in rugby union with Sale Sharks.

Having come through the Wigan ranks, Charnley has taken orders from Wane for the best part of a decade.

This season has been by far the most challenging, with the Warriors coach having to overcome an unprecedented catalogue of injuries to steer his men to a fourth successive Grand Final.

And Charnley says victory over Warrington would be the perfect way to draw a line under his time in cherry and white.

“People write Waney off, and say get him out, but no-one sees the hard work he puts in,” Charnley revealed.

“He’s the first one there in the morning, and he’s also the last one to leave.

“He’s a great coach to be coached under, a mate as well as a colleague, a good bloke to have around the camp.

“There are that many aspects to Waney - when you’re in his office, you don’t know if it’s going to be a good thing or a bad thing.

“When you see his name on your phone, you think: ‘What have I done’.

“It’s either something good or bad. But he’s always had a lot of belief in me.”

Even after missing the cut for last year’s Old Trafford showdown against Leeds, Charnley bore no grudges against his mentor.

In fact, the Test winger reckons the disappointment of last year has helped him recapture his best form this term.

“Last year, I picked up a lot of injuries, I couldn’t get fit and couldn’t get in the team, but Waney stuck by me,” Charnley acknowledged.

“I didn’t get in the England squad, which I was wasn’t too fussed about, because I knew I hadn’t performed.

“For the first time in years, I had a six-week break instead of just three, and that helped my body recover a little bit.

“I came back a better player - a little bit stronger and a little bit wiser.”

Charnley has even settled into the role of a senior player this year, with so many senior colleagues dropping like flies through injury.

“I think, as a team, we’ve had the most injuries - our key players, our role models, our leaders, they’re all on the sidelines,” he added.

“Most of the salary cap is in the gym, and most other teams would have packed up and given up. But the lads who have come in, they’re doing a job, they’re putting everything on the line. The belief Waney has put into the young lads, and the spirit in the camp, is phenomenal.

“This is where every Super League club, player, fan, wants to be. They want to be here at the end of the year, playing in finals and winning trophies.”