Call to Arms as Wane axes Florida training

Michael McIlorum at a training camp in 2010
Michael McIlorum at a training camp in 2010

SHAUN Wane has shelved Wigan’s annual pre-season trip to America - and replaced it with military camps instead.

The Warriors first-team squad has spent nearly two weeks warm-weather training in Florida in all four pre-seasons under Wane’s control.

We’ve been to America for the last two years and didn’t get anything in both seasons, so I wanted to do something different

Shaun Wane

But he has told his players they are staying home this winter.

Wane has arranged a camp with the Army later this month and will repeat the exercise in the New Year when his England internationals have returned to training.

Wane explained: “We’ve been to America for the last two years and didn’t get anything in both seasons, so I wanted to do something different, have a different approach – and hopefully it will have a different outcome.

“In the last two years we’ve gone close, but that doesn’t mean anything – we’ve not got over the line and not got the trophy we wanted, which was our objective.

“I didn’t want to do the same thing again, so I’m going a different way and we’re doing an army camp this month and another one in January.”

He said the change was not necessarily to give his players a steely edge, but rather to freshen up their preparations ahead of the 2016 campaign.

Wigan were beaten 22-20 in the Grand Final by Leeds, who also edged them in the race for the league leaders shield.

The Warriors also lost the 2014 Grand Final to St Helens and crashed out the Challenge Cup without reaching the semi-finals stage.

“The players understand, I was dead straight and they agreed it was the right thing to do,” said Wane.

“This is more to mix it up – I believe this is the right approach this year.”

Wane has used previous Florida trips to help new signings knit into the Wigan squad, as well as take advantage of the dry weather to concentrate on skills sessions.

But this year, Willie Isa is the only new face and Wane said: “The good out-weigh the bad. We’ll miss out on the warm-weather but we’re going to have a tough three days on both camps and we’ll still get some good skill into them.

“If the weather is bad, it’s bad. The weather will be bad when we play a friendly at Leigh in January! All the players know each other well, Willie has come in and grasped what we’re about straight away. I think this is the way forward.”

Wigan used an army camp ahead of their title-winning campaign in 2010 and trained with Royal Marines in Scotland the following year before Wane stepped up from being Michael Maguire’s assistant.