A new challenge for Charnley
Josh Charnley is looking forward to a different kind of challenge tonight when Leeds visit the DW Stadium.
The winger has switched to the left hand side this season, with Dom Manfredi taking up residence on the right – and with it the battle with England ace Ryan Hall tonight.
Charnley admits he is still learning in his new role, and while he has already scored two vital tries this season, has been hard on himself for errors.
“It’s different on the left, and it’s a role I’m still learning.,” he said.
“At the weekend (against Hull FC) I came up with a few too many errors they scored from, so I was a bit harsh with myself.
“It’s difficult though coming in and playing on another side – it might not seem it but there’s lots of things different about it than playing on the right. I’m getting there, though.
“We’re only four weeks into the season.”
Charnley says facing Hall brought out the best in him, and while he will be on the opposite side tonight, hopes Dom Manfredi can rise to the challenge of getting the better of the man Leeds fans call the world’s best winger.
“I enjoyed that battle with Ryan Hall,” said Charnley.
“You’re playing against an England international and you want to get the better of him – it’s that little competition that kicks you on.
“It brings the best out of you and it’ll certainly be a different challenge not facing him when we’re playing Leeds, but hopefully Dom Manfredi can get the best of him.”
Much has been made of Leeds’ slow start to the season, leaving the Rhinos in ninth place despite not being far off the pace in two of their three defeats. And Charnley says the quality of the squads, along with the rivals’ history of producing high octane clashes will result in a big game tonight.
“It’ll be an exciting game even with the league positions of the two teams,” he said.
“There’s plenty of mutual respect there with there being plenty of England guys in both camps, but when it comes to game night we put that to one side and try do the best for our team.”
Charnley is not being fooled by Leeds’ clunky start and thinks they will be poised to defend their champions tag come the Super 8s.
“They’ve started quite slow and they’ve lost a lot of players who were their leaders last year,” he acknowledged.
“That’ll be difficult for them to replace and difficult for them to overcome, but they’ll be up there with the best this year.”
But Wigan have their own designs on silverware, and Charnley says despite their 100 per cent start to the season, they need to improve to realise their goals.
“We set high standards at the beginning of the year,” he said.
“We’re reviewing games and we’re seeing opportunities we’re not taking. We all sat down last week and the general feeling was: ‘What are we playing at?’”
“We believe in ourselves and we know we can do better so there’s definitely a lot of ways to improve.”