Wane is rolling out his big-guns
Shaun Wane is carrying out his plan to roll out the big-guns for Wigan's first match since the Grand Final.
Fans heading to the friendly at Leigh will get a first chance to see Thomas Leuluai back in the Cherry and White – albeit a special design for Micky McIlorum’s testimonial.
Fellow Four Nations representatives George Williams and Lewis Tierney, new recruits Morgan Escare and Romain Navarrete, and key players Sean O’Loughlin, Anthony Gelling and Frank-Paul Nuuausala are also in the frame. There is no place in the squad for George Carmont, the ex-Wigan centre who is back in town to support McIlorum’s testimonial.
But as this is a friendly, with an extended bench, the squad can be amended.
And Carmont, 38, will be hoping to persuade Wane to give him a few minutes on the pitch.
As expected, McIlorum misses out on his own game as he nurses an ankle injury which has kept him out for nearly a year.
And some other frontline players Joel Tomkins, Ben Flower, John Bateman and Joe Burgess are set to come back into the fold for the following week’s clash at Catalans.
Wane said he is hoping to develop “good habits” in their two senior friendlies.
A reserve Wigan side will also take on London Skolars in the capital today (2pm).
“It’s all about building for the Salford and Cronulla games,” said Wane. Wigan open the season at the Red Devils on February 11, six days ahead of their World Club Challenge clash with the NRL champions.
Leigh forward Harrison Hansen is looking forward to crossing paths with former Wigan team-mate Leuluai, a close friend.
“Once we are on the pitch it will be down to business and just like a normal game and it will be a tough challenge against them,” said Hansen, who departed after the 2013 Grand Final.