Wane defuses talk of derby bad blood

Shaun Wane has defused talk of increased derby hostilities - by revealing he may go on holiday with Keiron Cunningham!

Wednesday, 23rd March 2016, 5:00 am
Shaun Wane

Lance Hohaia’s war of words withw St Helens has dredged up the controversy of the 2014 Grand Final, when Ben Flower was sent off for punching the Kiwi playmaker.

But Wane insists it has not stirred any bad blood between the two clubs ahead of Good Friday’s hotly-anticipated contest. While the Warriors boss is expecting a ferocious showdown on the pitch, he says the rivalry is healthy and laced with respect and friendship.

Speaking at his weekly media conference, he said: “It’s been made out there is spite between the two, but there is none really.

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“Keiron’s a good mate of mate.

“We go for coffees, we’re on about going to Scotland - him shooting, I’ll take the dogs.

“I’ve got a lot of respect for Keiron, he’s a good fella, he was a great player, and he’ll have them up for this game.”

Hohaia had claimed he received a lack of support from St Helens in early 2015, triggering a row between the two parties.

Wane is confident it will not seep into their preparations for Friday’s contest.

“We have a strong bubble and we only concern ourselves with what matters for us,” he said.

“That is the only concern, we don’t get dragged down by anything externally.”

Joel Tomkins is likely to play in his first game of the year, but there’s a doubt over England team-mate Liam Farrell, who is nursing a shoulder problem.

Wane will make a decision after the final training session tomorrow.

Stand-off George Williams is still absent with a back problem but could return as early as Monday, for the home encounter with Hull KR.

Wane’s squad for that game will be shaped by any injuries on Friday, but he confirmed he plans to recall Lewis Tierney. He has also put several of his academy graduates on stand-by.