Wane has tough wing decisions '“ and he loves it!
Shaun Wane admits the competition for wing spots is more intense than any other position in his side.
With Joe Burgess on fire on the left edge, three fliers – Liam Marshall, Lewis Tierney and Tom Davies – are battling for the role on the right side.
And that competition will be dialled up even more later this month when Dom Manfredi, a member of last year’s DreamTeam, returns to the mix.
Wane said: “Without a doubt, this is the most intense (area for competition for places).
“I have four talented wingers already and Dom is three or four weeks away – hopefully more three than four – and I look forward to them all being fit.
“I’d love that competition everywhere.
“I didn’t like it earlier in the year when I had two front-rowers and two on the bench, nobody else behind, and they knew they were playing the week after.
“I was out of my comfort zone with that and the players knew I didn’t like it.”
The Warriors coach had the luxury of leaving Marshall – one of the discoveries of this season, with 22 tries in 19 games – out of his side for Sunday’s 28-12 win against Widnes.
He felt he “owed” Tierney a crack in his preferred wing role, after a string of games covering as a makeshift full-back.
“Lewis did just okay, that wasn’t one of his best games and he can do a lot better,” said Wane, who hinted a change for Saturday’s trip to Catalans.
“I’ve got Tom and Liam fit to go, so I’ll make a tough choice for this weekend.”
When Tierney played on the wing in the World Club Challenge in February, Davies and Marshall had yet to made their debuts.
Davies has scored eight Super League tries, but has caught the eye for his metre-eating efforts early in the sets.
And while Wane usually lets form dictate selection, he admits the opposition may sway his decision.
“Because they’re very different players,” he said. “Liam is a good finisher, Tom’s good out of yardage, it depends what you need for the game – that has to be considered.
“But it’s my job to make sure Liam is good coming out of yardage and Tom is a good finisher, so we’re constantly looking at players’ weaknesses and working on those areas in training.”
Wane will name his provisional 19-man squad today.
Prop Taulima Tautai is expected to return after two weeks out with a calf strain.
Catalans have had three players suspended from their win against Leigh last weekend, and Wane admits he would have preferred Greg Bird to have figured. He explained: “I rate him very highly, he’s a tough competitor.
“I’m a bit gutted he’s not playing because when he played in the pre-season friendly against us, it was great for our young kids to play against a legend of the game – we had Jack Wells and Callum Field out there defending against someone like him – it’s good for them.
“He’s a big loss for them.”