SHAUN Wane has promised to put his players in ‘a bad place’ during pre-season but asserts his regime will not all be focused on weights and fitness.
The Warriors are gearing up for what will be an historic season before a ball has been passed, with the Super League champions and Challenge Cup holders facing Sydney Roosters in what could be the first World Club Challenge to be held in Australia for 18 years.
And Wane is hoping by then Wigan fans will be watching not just the fittest and strongest athletes he could send into the arena, but also the most skilful.
“It will always be my priority that our skills improve,” said the Wigan boss.
“Pre-season is going to be tough. We will put them in a bad place but we’ll do a lot of skills. It will be really intense but we will do more skills than we have in the past.
”If we can do that and improve on last year we’ll be in a good place - I want our players to be big and strong but I always want them to improve on their skill.”
Despite having guided Wigan to their first league and cup double since 1995, and the club enjoying a purple patch in 2013 of 13 straight wins between March and June, Wane has already picked areas for the side to improve on.
“I’m really motivated and looking to make improvements in the areas where they were needed,” he added.
“There were a few areas I think we could have been better last year even though we went well.”
Now pre-season has officially started, Wane is expecting to be busier than ever as each side facing Wigan will raise their game to try and knock the champions off their perch.
If last season is anything to go by, the coach thinks he won’t get to relax for a while.
“I remember this time last year and the next time I had time to sit down and reflect was halfway through the year,” said Wane.
“When you’re in the grind of the year and pre-season things move on pretty quickly.
“Obviously with the World Cup players being away for a few weeks longer it makes for a short pre-season.”
Wigan’s Super League campaign kicks off with three home games, interrupted by the World Club Challenge, against Huddersfield Giants, Widnes Vikings and Wakefield Trinity Wildcats before they first hit the road to travel to Castleford.
And Wane is pleased to see the fixtures have produced a clutch of home ties together early on, which he hopes will serve as a reward for the fans’ support throughout the past 12 months.
“I want to take advantage of it and it’s a great thing for the Wigan fans to enjoy,” he said.
“We had a great season winning the double last year and it will be great for them to see the lads regularly at the start of the year.
“I know a lot of people are buying season tickets and it will be good to reward them with a few home games.”
And Wane is hoping the fans share his enthusiasm for the new season.
“We’ve some exciting times coming up and I’m looking forward to this year.”