SHAUN Wane challenged his players to cling onto their first-team shirts – by making it impossible for him to drop them.
The Warriors coach is without a cluster of first-team regulars for Friday’s Big One 4 encounter against Hull FC.
But with Sean O’Loughlin, Brett Finch and Darrell Goulding likely to be fit to face Warrington the following week – and Thomas Leuluai, Pat Richards, Ben Flower and Paul Prescott – back soon after, he knows competition for places will be ratcheted up in the run-in to the play-offs.
And Wane is banking on that cut-throat pressure to bring out the best of his players this week.
He said: “They’re all 100% aware that if they play well then they stay in.
“Anthony Gelling and Iain Thornley have proved that in the past.
“It doesn’t matter who you are – if Sean O’Loughlin’s form drops, then Liam Farrell will come in.
“We’ve got a few out and I’d expect whatever team I pick to be competitive in any game.
“But this is their chance, if they play outstanding well, then they’ll stay in.
“When it comes to Warrington I’m going to play my most experienced team that I’m comfortable with, but if any youngsters come through and shine and it’s continuous then they’ll stay in. They all know that.”
Wane yesterday named young half Sam Powell in his 19-man squad for tomorrow’s game. The list of injuries now means he is set to make his first-team debut.
SQUAD: S Tomkins, Charnley, Carmont, McIlorum, Mossop, Hansen, Hock, Lima, Farrell, Tuson, Lauaki, Gelling, Hughes, L Tomkins, Powell, Spencer, Crosby, Thornley, Smith.