SHAUN Wane hailed the heart his players showed to earn their 48-12 win over Hull FC.
Despite the result being only Wigan’s fourth success on the road in 2015, it wasn’t needed to ensure Warriors go into the Super 8s in at least third place, but Wane was happy to take impressive momentum into the Grand Final race.
Having never lost at the KC Stadium as head coach, Wane’s record at the ground seemed safe by the break as Joe Burgess, John Bateman, Sam Powell and George Williams crossed in the first half.
“Everything paid off today,” he said.
“We’ve done lots of bits in certain games well and I wanted them to put a few things together and we did that today.”
And having admitted during the week he had almost given in to ‘scratchy’ performances, Wane said the most pleasing aspect of the performance for him was the tempo his side set.
They do what I ask them to do and that is crucial - that’s what they did todayShaun Wane
“We’re only a small team but their heart is big,” Wane said of his players.
“They run hard and we trust each other, me and the players.
“They do what I ask them to do and that is crucial - that’s what they did today.
“We very rarely come up against a team smaller than us so the one thing we need to do is sprint - run hard - and they’ve all got a ticker - that’s why we sign them.”
After the break, a double from the departing Matty Bowen complimented tries from Sean O’Loughlin - his first against Hull FC - and Dom Crosby - as Hull had little answer.
And Wane admitted his players were improving in the right areas after shaky performances in recent weeks.
“I thought we were ruthless at times,” he said.
“Our skill was good and our timing was good.
“We played straight and the tempo we created was good.
“That was the most pleasing thing and that was one of the things we’ve been working on.”
Full-back Bowen returned to the squad in place of young Ryan Hampshire - and while Wane said it was always his intention to play the Australian, his performance justified his place in the team.
“He’s a good player Matty - and so is Ryan - they are both good players,” said Wane.
“I’m very lucky to have two class players like that but Mango did some great things today.”
Warriors now face a week off before the Super 8s begin while the Challenge Cup semi-finals take place next weekend.
Wane asserted he would rather not have the blank weekend in his calendar, but has vowed to use the time wisely as his side push for a top four finish and a chance to reach a third Grand Final in a row.
“We’ll carry on concentrating on what we do and now we go into the eights in a good manner,” he said.
“I’d like to be playing next week but we’ll use it well.”