Tautai needs to make ‘strong case’ for recall

Taulima Tautai facing Catalans at Millwall's ground
Taulima Tautai facing Catalans at Millwall's ground

TAULIMA Tautai will need to present a “strong case” for a recall to the Warriors side ahead of the Grand Final.

The forward is available again after serving a three-game ban for a dangerous throw against Hull FC.

In his absence, Wigan have powered to a third-successive Grand Final.

And given the professional, all-round strong display in Thursday’s 32-8 semi-final victory against Huddersfield, coach Shaun Wane admits he is reluctant to tinker with his side ahead of the Old Trafford decider on October 10.

“I’ll have a look at how he trains this week,” said Wane.

“But I’m very happy with how we’ve played, and with the balance of the side, so it’s going to need a strong case for me to change it.”

Former Parramatta forward Tautai – who arrived a year ago from Wakefield – looks likely to join out-of-favour Josh Charnley and Anthony Gelling in missing the Grand Final. England winger Charnley has lost his place to Dom Manfredi, who has scored five tries in the last two games, while Gelling’s spot has been filled by John Bateman.

Teenager Oliver Gildart has impressed in the other centre berth in recent weeks.

But Wane made a point of praising the squad players who are likely to miss out on selection – both for their contribution this year and their continued attitude in training.

He said: “The culture here is that it’s all about the team, not the individuals.

“I made a point of thanking everybody after Thursday’s win, because it is tough for players like Gells, Josh and Rhodri (Lloyd), who turn up every week.

“They make the standard of training really high, and because of that you end up with good performances in the big games.

“They put the team before themselves.

“Without them, our performance would dip – I know they would.

“I also know how tough it is for them when they’re not in the team at the end of the week. Not everyone in the squad can play, but they’ve played their part this year.

“They’ve played many minutes and contributed to some of the wins which have got us to where we are now.”

Wane has plotted their Grand Final week’s preparations, beginning with training tomorrow.

Wane and a group of senior players will visit Old Trafford on Monday for a media conference, ahead of the Man of Steel dinner later that evening.