Dropping Isa the toughest call I’ve made, admits Wane

Willie Isa missed out on the World Club Challenge
Willie Isa missed out on the World Club Challenge
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Shaun Wane has yet to decide his team for Friday’s match with Widnes – but he knows one player who will definitely be included.

Willie Isa missed out on selection for Sunday’s World Club Challenge win, a decision Wane described as the toughest of his coaching career.

The forward had played the week before in a 26-16 win at Salford, but was squeezed out by the return of John Bateman.

And Wane said: “Willie will play this week against his former club – I’m gutted he didn’t play against Cronulla.

“It was probably the toughest decision I’ve ever made.

“It doesn’t bother me in the slightest making a tough call, but that one bothered me, because he’d done nothing wrong.

“I had nothing to show him to improve on.

“But Cronulla are a big team, and I needed a big bench, so I went with four middles.

“I explained the reason and Willie understood the reasons – and that made it even harder.”

Wane opted for a bench of Joel Tomkins, Ryan Sutton, Frank-Paul Nuuausala and Taulima Tautai.

All the players gingerly returned to the training ground yesterday following their World Club Challenge celebrations. They had a recovery session and will train only once this week – the captain’s run tomorrow. Wane has decided not to review their 22-6 win against Cronulla.

“I watched it this morning, and I’m still picking holes,” he said. “So I’m not going to do a review because it’d be a shocker, and I don’t want to kill the moment!

“It was a big win for us, for the town and for Super League. They saw the best of us defensively, but we weren’t outstanding. We can play a lot better, but we did enough to win a tough game convincingly.” Wane says all the players have asked to figure in Friday’s televised game but, as well as bringing in Isa, he may rest a couple of others.

Academy-products Jake Shorrocks and Joe Bretherton haven’t figured this season and may come in. He was also planning to watch footage of Swinton’s 35-28 loss to Bradford on Sunday to assess the performances of his dual-registration players Jack Higginson, Liam Forsyth, Tom Davies and Romain Navarette.