Wane: Players want to rip into Leigh

Shaun Wane has vowed to meet fire with fire when Super League's newcomers arrive at the DW Stadium.

Thursday, 2nd March 2017, 5:30 am
Updated Friday, 24th March 2017, 11:05 am
Shaun Wane's Wigan are unbeaten this season

The Warriors coach says his players “want to rip into Leigh” in the first of these top-flight derbies since 2005.

Wigan are looking for a fourth-straight win and Wane has braced his players for an aggressive challenge from Neil Jukes’ outfit.

He said: “It’s going to be a physical contest, no doubts about it.

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“I know what they can do. My players understand what will hit them – and we need to make sure we hit them with things, put them under pressure and see how they cope with it as well.”

Tomorrow marks Gareth Hock’s first return to the DW since leaving at the end of 2012 – he never played at his home venue with Widnes or Salford.

And Wane said: “He’s one of our favourites, he’s from the same estate as me, I’ve a lot of respect for him.

“Gaz is special, a great talent, and he will want to win this game – he will be firing.

“But I have some tough characters who really want to rip into Leigh.”

Liam Marshall has kept his place in the 19-man squad and is set to come into the side on the left-wing, with Joe Burgess moving to centre to replace Oliver Gildart.

In-form Gildart and John Bateman have both dropped out of the provisional squad with minor shoulder problems.

Prop Joe Bretherton and centre Liam Forsyth - waiting for his debut - have come into the panel.

Wane has the option of bringing Forsyth in as a straight replacement for Gildart, though his early indication suggested Marshall would be the man to come into the reckoning after impressing him in pre-season.

Former Wigan players Danny Tickle, Ryan Hampshire, Gareth Hock, Sam Hopkins, Micky Higham and Harrison Hansen are in Leigh’s squad.

Kick-off at the DW Stadium is 8pm and the game is not being televised. Five of their following seven fixtures are being shown by Sky Sports, including next Thursday’s Grand Final rematch at Warrington.

Wigan’s 19-man squad: Burgess, Bretherton, Clubb, Escare, Farrell, Flower, Forsyth, Gelling, Isa, Leuluai, Marshall, Nuuausala, O’Loughlin, Powell, Sutton, Tautai, Tierney, Tomkins, Williams.

Leigh’s 19-man squad: Naughton, Pelissier, Brown, Tickle, Crooks, Vea, Tonga, Hampshire, Dawson, Reynolds, Drinkwater, Green, Hock, Hopkins, Higham, Acton, Weston, Burr, Hansen.