There's no bad blood, insists Wane
Shaun Wane has denied there is animosity between Wigan and Castleford ahead of their mouth-watering showdown tomorrow.
Last year, both Wane and Daryl Powell played down talk of friction between the two clubs.
But some still have a perception of bad blood between them – which Wane insists is not the case.
“There’s absolutely no animosity from me and I don’t know why people would think that,” he said.
“I don’t know Daryl, he doesn’t know me. I just have a lot of respect for their players.
“I’m a massive fan of Paul McShane and Oliver Holmes. Luke Gale? Great player. I’ve always like Jamie Ellis.
“They’ve got some absolute talent in their team.
“There’s no bad feeling or animosity from me at all and I genuinely mean that.”
Wigan have lost their last four games against Castleford and were mauled 54-4 in their last visit to the Mend-a-hose Jungle.
“I look forward to going there, it’s an old-fashioned rugby ground,” said Wane.
“We’ve had some good wins over there but we’ve also had some really bad losses so there are a few things I personally want to put right.
“I just want to see us perform.”
The Tigers have only suffered one loss this year - an opening night hammering at St Helens - and Wane expects them to have as much potency as last season, when they topped the table 10 points clear of eventual champions Leeds.
“They can play. They lost a couple of knockout games last year but they were overall consistently the best team,” he said.
“In the last few games they have improved, a bit like us, so I think they’ll have a complete performance soon and we need to defend it.”
The Warriors headed into round six sitting second in the table, with only one defeat against them.
And Wane added: “That loss at Warrington still niggles me a bit but I’m happy with the progression we’ve made. We’re in a good place.
“There’s a good spirit where the players look like they enjoy coming into work and they enjoy the challenge of improving every week, every day, every session.”
The Tigers won all three of their meetings last season, two victories at the DW Stadium sandwiching a 54-4 hammering on their own ground.
Powell has sensed an improvement in their opponents’ early matches.
“Wigan have got some renewed vigour this year,” he said.
“I think they were disappointed with last year, they set high standards and they will come after us, absolutely.
“The next block of games is a step up in class, and we have to go with it. We’ll be challenged.
“There’s a bit of edge about us and I’m looking forward to the challenge.”
Castleford this week completed the signing of prop Liam Watts from Hull FC, though he will be ineligible to play as he serves the rest of a ban for headbutting ex-Warrior Dom Crosby.