Wigan v Warrington: Match preview
Apparently, Wigan have a game tonight.
The midweek news about Josh Charnley and Dan Sarginson leaving has dominated discussions over the last couple of days.
Why are they going? What could have been done to stop them? Who will replace them?
All good questions, which have drowned out much of the excitement usually generated by games between Wigan and Warrington.
At any stage, fixtures between these two are worth watching.
And with them both sat in the top two positions in the table - split only by points difference - this one should be must-see, even if fatigue may be a factor following the Easter weekend.
“This is as hard as the Monday game,” said winger Dom Manfredi.
“You’re still sore but you try and do the right things in rehab and freshen up as much as you can.
“It’s hard for all the lads, playing busted, but we all look forward to it.”
Wigan head into the televised showdown on the back of another successful Easter weekend.
Their stunning derby display was followed up by a scrappy, 30-16 victory over Hull KR on Monday.
The latter moved them level with Warrington at the top following their loss at Hull FC.
“They have some good individuals and they’re beating a lot of teams,” continued Manfredi.
“We’re playing alright and they are as well, so it’s a massive game and one we’re looking forward to.
“We have to go into this with the right mindset.
“We made hard work of the Hull KR game.
“It wasn’t a comfortable game, not as comfortable as the scoreline, but we got the two points and over Easter, it’s about getting the wins.”
The wins came at a cost, with centre Anthony Gelling picking up a knock which rules him out tonight.
But his absence has been offset by the return of Liam Farrell and Willie Isa, who will help freshen-up the squad.
“It’s important for whoever comes in to try and give the energy to the boys, because it’s a quick turnaround for the boys who have played,” said Isa, who has missed the last six games.
“They did really well to dig in and get the two wins.”
With the winners moving two points clear at the top tonight, it is a golden chance to take a grip of the competition - and lay down a marker to the chasing pack.
Wane, though, is not thinking of the consequences of a victory so early in the season.
“I don’t look at it that way, I just want to beat Warrington and get another two points,” he said.
“I believe it will all look after itself if we concentrate on ourselves and doing the right thing.
“I’m happy with two wins from two over Easter, I knew we’d be scratchy on Monday, the derby took a lot of juice out of us.
“But it would have been naive to expect an 80 minute performance, it wasn’t going to happen.
“When we put some tempo in our plays they couldn’t live with it.”
Wigan are the slight favourites with the bookmakers thought Wane believes Warrington deserve the tag, given their strong start and the calibre of their players.
“They have an abundance of talent,” he said. “They have signed some quality players from the NRL - we have a slightly different approach - but there are still two really good teams going at it.
“I’m a big fan of Ben Currie, I’m a big fan of Chris Hill - another Wigan lad.
“So it will be two desperate teams going at it, and the biggest game of the year so far.”