Wane: Spirit here is best I've known
Shaun Wane has declared the spirit at Wigan better than at any time during his time in charge.
He has won five trophies since taking over as head coach for the 2012 campaign – and also reached three other finals which ended in defeat.
But ahead of tonight’s trip to Widnes, he says the feeling is “special”.
“The spirit is as good as I’ve known it,” he said.
“We’ve had some really good seasons here since I’ve been coach, but the spirit and the culture and the standards the players are driving... it’s quite special.” Which is not to say he feels Wigan have hit their peak this season, which has them in second spot after nine wins from 11.
“We’re happy to get the wins, but the players are with me 100 per cent in knowing the areas we can and will improve,” he added.
“We just want a complete performance and we’re nowhere near it at the moment.
“These players are very honest, we’ve agreed our standards and we need to get up there now.
“But we’re in a great place – the spirit is fantastic.”
Sam Tomkins (foot), Ben Flower (Achilles) and Liam Farrell (rolled ankle) drop out of the squad tonight to either protect – or prevent aggravating previous – injuries.
“I’m not going to embarrass myself and say it’s the same as grass – it’s not,” said Wane. “It’s a different surface, there’s not much give.
“Sam trained on a 4G in pre-season and he pulled up with a sore foot, Faz rolled his ankle and that’s not the best surface for him to play on, and it’s not worth the risk playing Ben.
“But I’m excited about the players coming in.”
French livewire Morgan Escare will return after four games out and Australian prop Gabriel Hamlin will be looking to make strides after two appearances this year.
“Morgan has done everything I wanted him to do. He’s trained well and played outstanding for the reserves,” said Wane.
“His attitude is always great, but he gets what we need now. I’m excited to see him. If Sam’s foot wasn’t a problem... I may have made a change anyway, I’m ready to see him.
“I liked what Gabe did against Hull KR but he was gassed against Catalans. He was shocked, and it hurt him.
“So he’s got some good fitness under his belt and he’s keen to get on the pitch. I went through my team and it’s strong, no question. We spoke about our standards and in the last few years we’ve not been good enough at Widnes – they always play well when we go into town.
“They’re a Super League team, we all spend the same amount, so there’s no easing off with our attitude.
“We need to make sure we start really well because they always play 10 or 20 per cent better against us.
“We’ve spoken about our past record and making sure they see the best of us.
“I just want them to see a complete performance and hopefully that will get us a win.”