SHAUN Wane has a defiant message ahead of Saturday’s visit of Super League champions Leeds – bring it on!
The Warriors chief might be forgiven for wanting a less intense clash next up after last weekend’s shock home defeat at home to Huddersfield.
But Wane says the visit of the Rhinos will help bring out the best in his players, who’ll have a point to prove to both themselves and their coach.
“That is what we wanted – I am looking forward to this weekend,” said Wane (left).
“Leeds finished last season off really well, they’re a very well-coached team and we’ll need to be on our guard.
“But all I am bothered about is how we play and how we train, and I can’t fault them – the response from our players since last week has been fantastic.
“It has been a tough couple of days. The players were very hard on themselves, which you would expect.
“But I have got – and I don’t say this lightly – a really strong group mentally.
“They stick together, team spirit is fantastic. We had a great session yesterday, and I’m confident we’ll see a different performance this week.”
Wane will be forced into at least two changes for the game, with Liam Farrell suspended and George Carmont having broken a thumb against the Giants.
The Wigan coach, though, still regards his glass as half-full rather than half-empty.
“I am quite happy,” he added. “Obviously Liam is suspended and George is injured but, apart from that, we’re all right.
“I know we can perform better than we did last week. We weren’t at our best but we still only lost by four points and scored three tries to three. It’s not so bad.”
Wane also leapt to the defence of young back-rower Farrell, who accepted an early guilty plea for a dangerous tackle on Huddersfield’s Leroy Cudjoe that led to a one-match ban.
“I think it is more clumsy than anything else,” Wane said. “There is definitely no malice there. He is not that sort of player.
“How we practise our contact... Liam went out of the system a bit there. That’s just not him.
“I have no stress about it, though. It is a complete one-off. It’s never happened before and it probably won’t happen again.”
Wane is also looking forward to putting his wits against the club for whom he left Wigan towards the end of his playing career.
“Leeds is a good club, but I am a Wigan lad first and foremost,” Wane added.
“I spent 10 years here and went to Leeds for three years. There were some nice people there, but it is not the same as playing for your home-town club, at Central Park, in front of your home fans.”