Wane salutes Warrington’s Westwood ahead of career milestone

Ben Westwood in action the last time Wigan faced the Wolves
Ben Westwood in action the last time Wigan faced the Wolves

Shaun Wane will be hoping to dampen the celebrations of Warrington war-horse Ben Westwood tomorrow night.

The veteran forward is set to play in his landmark 500th career game.

Wane obviously hopes Westwood doesn’t get the chance to mark his personal milestone with victory, but admits he is a huge admirer of the 36-year-old.

“Warrington have a lot of threats in their side, like Stefan Ratchford and Daryl Clark, and I love my team playing against Bennie Westwood,” he said.

“He’s a player I would have liked to have coached at some point.

“He’s a tough competitor, he’s bashed our players a few times, we’ve bashed him, and he always comes back for more. I rate him very, very highly.”

Tomorrow’s match will also see ex-Warrior Josh Charnley play his first match back at the DW Stadium since returning to league with the Wolves.

Asked what reception the free-scoring winger will receive, Wane said: “I hope a good one.

“The fans of Wigan like competitive players and that’s what Josh was.

“I hope he gets the welcome he deserves, because he loved his time here and he’s never said anything bad about the place.”

Second-placed Wigan trail St Helens by six points while, looking over their shoulder, Wane’s outfit have a two-point margin on Warrington with 11 rounds remaining before the play-off semi-finals.

A win would keep the Wolves at jabbing distance away, but Wane said: “I don’t look at spots in the ladder, I look at winning every game and whatever we get at the end of the year, we’ll finish where we deserve to finish.

“I’m not one of those smart coaches who will target certain games. I want to win every game.

“The way Saints are playing, it’s going to be tough, the only thing we can control is what we do, and that starts with beating Warrington.

“I’d have loved to have picked from a full strength squad and I’m sure Steve Price will be the same, but it’s going to be game on between two sides desperate to get the win, and I can’t wait.

“Against Warrington your game-plan needs to be fool-proof and we believe we’ve done that this week.”

Joe Greenwood, who made his debut against Leeds in a 46-8 win last week, misses out after injuring his ankle in training.

A scan has revealed he has ligament damage which is expected to sideline him for around two weeks.

Wigan’s 19-man squad: John Bateman, Tony Clubb, Tom Davies, Morgan Escaré, Liam Farrell, Callum Field, Ben Flower, Oliver Gildart, Gabe Hamlin, Willie Isa, Samuel Kibula, Tommy Leuluai, Liam Marshall, Sean O’Loughlin, Liam Paisley, Sam Powell, Taulima Tautai, Sam Tomkins, Josh Woods.

Warrington’s 19-man squad: Sitaleki Akauola, Kevin Brown, Mitch Brown, Josh Charnley, Daryl Clark, Mike Cooper, Dominic Crosby, Bryson Goodwin, Chris Hill, Jack Hughes, George King, Toby King, Tom Lineham, Declan Patton, Joe Philbin, Stefan Ratchford, Tyrone Roberts, Morgan Smith, Ben Westwood

Referee: Chris Kendall