Shaun Wane has pinned Warriors Super League opener a week tomorrow as a must-win.
The visit to Salford on February 11 signals the start of Warriors’ title defence, and to the Wigan coach is worth more than two league points.
With the World Club Challenge clash with Cronulla up the following week, Wane wants to see his players use the visit to the AJ Bell Stadium as a launchpad for hitting the Sharks in top form.
“This game I want to win in a good manner, it’s added pressure which is good,” the Warriors boss told Wigan Today.
“This is a must win game. Two points. It’s the start of Super League and the week before we play a massive game so I want us to give a good account of ourselves.”
Wigan went into their last World Club Challenge, against Sydney Roosters in 2014, on the back of a 24-8 opening day loss to Huddersfield Giants, though they did beat New Zealand Warriors in a warm-up match Down Under.
But in his latest shot at adding a World Club winner’s medal to his name as a coach to go with the one he won as a player in 1987, Wane says his squad have drawn-up on a blueprint for success, which they have already started working on.
“We have to perform against Salford and keep practising the things that are important to us,” he said.
“There are certain private things we’ve identified that if we do those things then we’ll win games.
“We did it against Leigh for a period, we did it a lot more against Catalans and we won the game. It’s private things within the squad but they are important things to the team.”
Wigan last opened the season at Salford in the double-winning campaign of 2013, with a 42-0 win, and haven’t lost a round one match since a home defeat to Huddersfield in 2012, when the Warriors ended up finishing the regular season top.
And leading up the game, Wane has described the Warriors’ squad as being ‘in good shape’ and revealed Tony Clubb will be fit to play after missing the club’s pre-season friendlies with a lower back problem.
The prop hasn’t played since the loss to Hull FC last May after picking up a neck injury which required surgery.
Meanwhile, Warriors announced last night Kyle Shelford and Macauley Davies have joined Workington Town on season-long loan deals.