SHAUN Wane feels his Wigan players are better-prepared to face Brisbane after training with NRL champions Souths.
Hundreds of fans watched the two heavyweights lock horns in an opposed session at the Warriors’ training base yesterday.
The Rabbitohs play St Helens for the World Club Challenge, the day after Wigan’s DW clash against the Broncos.
Wane took many benefits from the session and enjoyed working alongside former boss Michael Maguire again.
“We’ve got a great relationship with Souths, and with Madge,” said Wane, who was Maguire’s assistant for two years before succeeding him.
“It’s great to welcome him back here. We had a lot of great times together.
“We’re very similar in a lot of ways – sometimes with a head coach and his assistant it’s good cop, bad cop. With us, the players had two bad cops! I’m expecting a real, physical battle against a team who can play on Saturday night and it’s good that Souths have been able to help us with our preparation, and us with theirs.”
Wane confirmed captain Sean O’Loughlin will miss Saturday’s game after undergoing surgery on a knee injury yesterday. He is expected to be sidelined for more than a month. “It is what it is, I’m not stressed about it,” added Wane.
“John Bateman is playing well, and with Dan Sarginson back in the centres so we can put Joel Tomkins back in the second row, so we’ve got people who can do a job.”
George Williams and Taulima Tautai are also back from injury with the latter saying he enjoyed yesterday’s run out as he came up against some old foes and friends.
“It was good, very enjoyable,” said Tautai.
“Souths are very professional and came with a good team. They have a couple of guys I used to hang around with – Isaac Luke being one of them – and I used to play alongside Joel Reddy.
“It was funny, I was talking to them afterwards and they were saying it was so cold, and I said, ‘This is pretty warm for this time of year!’
“But it was a good session and I think we’ve both got something out of it.”
Hundreds of Wigan fans went along to the open session at Orrell.
Michael Maguire, George Burgess and Greg Inglis were the star attractions, spending nearly an hour after the session had finished signing autographs and posing for pictures.
The World Club Series starts tomorrow when Warrington face St George Illawarra Dragons. The Wolves announced they had almost sold out their South Stand.
Wigan are also expecting a crowd of nearly 20,000 for Saturday night’s encounter against Brisbane.
The two games are followed on the Sunday night by the World Club Challenge showdown between Souths and St Helens. Judging by the Rabbitohs shirts at Orrell yesterday, there’ll be no shortage of support for Michael Maguire’s men!