Wane predicts bruising opening

Coach Shaun Wane
Coach Shaun Wane

SHAUN Wane is gearing his Wigan side up for an opening 20 minutes that he believes could blow the roof off the Halliwell Jones Stadium this weekend.

Warriors travel to Warrington on Saturday evening three points clear at the top of Super League with four rounds remaining.

The Wolves’ victory over St Helens on Monday night ensured Wigan can’t claim the League Leaders Shield on the night.

And the Wigan coach believes the quality that Warrington showed in seeing off their local rivals was a timely reminder of just how formidable a challenge they will present for his charges.

He said: “I wasn’t impressed with Saints, but I was really impressed with Warrington.

“We need to make sure that we have good sets and they don’t get that lead they’re looking for which we normally get.

“I’m expecting a tight 20-25 minutes, the score will be really low.

“Against Warrington you need to be real physical – and that’s what I want from my players.”

Wane was an extremely interested observer on Monday as Warrington were pushed all the way by the Saints just five days before the visit of the table-topping Warriors.

Despite knowing a Warrington defeat would play into the hands of his own side, Wane is adamant he never allowed him to cross over to the dark side – if only for 80 minutes. “Support Saints? I’d never be a Saints fan, no matter what – that was never going to happen,” Wane added, with a wry smile.

“I was just enjoying the game – looking how Warrington play, seeing how they defend and how they attack.

“Warrington were a class apart. They wanted it more and I think as an attacking threat they offered more than what Saints did.”

Wigan go into the game in good form, having enjoyed three 40-point victories since surprisingly being knocked out of the Challenge Cup at the semi-final stage to the Leeds Rhinos last month.

Their latest win, against Hull last Friday night, saw young guns Jack Hughes and Sam Powell show the strength in depth at the DW with fine performances.

“It was good, I enjoyed it,” Wane acknowledged.

“In spells we played very well. Some attack sets were fantastic.

“We did have a few blips with errors from our middle unit players which will not happen often, and they’ve all been pretty upset about that.

“Apart from that, when we did keep hold of the ball, I thought some of the skill we showed was absolutely outstanding.”