‘Saints will be wanting to mess our season up’

Shaun Wane at Wembley
Shaun Wane at Wembley

Shaun Wane admits the chance to ruin their rivals’ play-offs hopes will add extra spice to Friday’s high-stakes derby.

Wigan and St Helens are level on points, both one point behind fourth-placed Wakefield.

And with just four games to go before the play-offs semi-finals, defeat would strike a damaging blow to the losers’ chances.

Wane says Saints will be trying to twist the knife just days after Wigan’s Wembley heartache.

He said: “They’ll be motivated to mess our season up – and we are for them.

“It’s game on.

“Lose this, it’s out of our hands and we don’t want that. So this is must-win, like last Saturday was.”

Wane took training at their Orrell base yesterday and saw enough to convince him the 18-14 Challenge Cup final defeat to Hull will motivate – rather than deflate – his players.

“The boys are pretty hard on themselves, they feel motivated to get the win,” he said. “They feel anger and I’ve encouraged that. We’ll turn up in a really committed mood. That’s why I said this is a perfect game for us.

“There’s an intense rivalry, Saints have had the week off so they’ll be fit and ready – it’s got the makings of a great game.”

Wane will name his 19-man squad today but will wait until tomorrow’s captain’s run before finalising his line-up, and may freshen his side up. Forwards Joel Tomkins and Jack Wells are on stand-by.