Wane drafts in legend Greg to inspire troops
Shaun Wane is hoping a pep-talk from Wigan legend Andy Gregory can help propel the Warriors towards another trip to Wembley on Sunday.
Wigan face Salford this weekend in the second Challenge Cup semi-final at Warrington, hoping to return to the national stadium they once regarded as their second home.
Wane and Gregory were team-mates almost three decades ago as Wigan enjoyed a monopoly of the famous trophy, and he’s hoping a trip down Memory Lane later today can help instil the necessary belief in his players.
“Andy’s really keen to come in, and I’m really keen to have him come in,” acknowledged Wane.
“He’ll be a great speaker for the players, to understand how much it means to a player to get this club to Wembley, and what we need to do.
“It has to be a win at all costs, life or death, thing to get there.
“He’s a Wigan lad, brought up in Ince, he’s my mate and he’s really competitive.
“And there’s nobody who’s got a record like he has.”
Gregory, ironically was the coach of Salford, Sunday’s opponents, when they ended Wigan’s eight-year hold on the competition in 1996 with a shock upset at the Willows.
Wane admits that game will be glossed over as far as Gregory’s talk is concerned – “we’re going to leave that out...he’s not going to bother with that one!”
But the Warriors chief is hoping Gregory’s words will strike a chord with modern-day superstars like Sam Tomkins and George Williams, who have the chance to one day write themselves into club folklore.
“The fact is they’re miles off his record,” Wane recognised.
“There’s nobody anywhere near anything he’s done, so you have to listen to every single word he says.
“I know the feelings he has about the Challenge Cup and all that will come out.
“He’s going to speak for about five or 10 minutes – I’m sure he’d like an hour! – before we get into our video.
“But it’s going to be a good day. I’ve been on that field with Greg, when we beat Halifax (in 1988) and we had a coach journey back from London which I can’t really remember! But they’re fantastic memories, and I want him to tell everyone about those memories because there’s no better feeling.”
Wane has no fresh injury worries for the big game, with the only problem going to be whittling the squad down to his matchday 17.
“Everyone has come through good,” Wane added.
“What you find when you have a big game is that there’s no injuries – the physics are sat there twiddling their thumbs!
“Liam Farrell and Joel Tomkins will train and then it’s up to me whether I put them in.
“But they’re two big-game players, so my temptation would be to put them in.”