Wane predicts Giant test

Wigan Warriors Ben Flower and Mike McIlorum (left)
Wigan Warriors Ben Flower and Mike McIlorum (left)

SHAUN Wane has told his players to ignore suggestions that Huddersfield will be under-strength for Sunday’s Super League opener.

Wide-spread reports yesterday suggested Nathan Brown will field a “patched-up” side against the Warriors, in Wane’s first competitive game as head coach.

The Giants are the worst hit of all the clubs kicking off the new campaign under strength, with no fewer than eight players ruled out by injury and suspension.

Their list of absentees includes senior players such as Kevin Brown (ankle) David Fa’alogo (back), David Faiumu (shoulder), Luke O’Donnell (knee) and Keith Mason (groin) – effectively forcing Brown to throw young forwards such as Adam Walker and Jacob Fairbank into the fray.

But Wane rubbished suggestions they will be under-strength and, perhaps cautious to avoid any complacency creeping into their preparations, told his players to get ready for a challenging encounter.

He said: “I know Nathan Brown and I know he’ll put a really good team together. It’ll be a full-on and we’re gearing up for a really good game.

“I’m not reading anything into the fact some players are missing, absolutely not, because I know for a fact that if I lost six or seven senior players, I’d still turn up and expect the players I’ve got to have a dig.

“Nathan will be the same. I know how he likes his teams to play, he has some talented players there and our lads are under no illusions that if we don’t perform we will come up with the loss.

“Nathan coaches the way I like, he has the forward playing strong, they are fast and skilful – I rate him highly as a coach.

“So as far as I’m concerned, it’s their full-strength team and that’s how we’re preparing.

“I want 100 per cent concentration from my players and I want to see how we defend and attack. If we do our job and play like we can, I’m sure we’ll be okay.” By last night Wigan had sold around 5,000 tickets for the non-televised game, in addition to the 10,000-plus season tickets.

WIGAN’S home game against Widnes in round 18 has been selected for Monday night broadcast by Sky Sports.

The game kicks-off at 8pm on June 25. Sky will be showing a game each Monday night during the Premier League off-season.

NEW recruits Gil Dudson and Anthony Gelling are in the Under-20s team to take on South Wales Scorpions in Neath tomorrow. Fringe players such as Jack Hughes and Logan Tomkins are also set to figure.