Shaun Wane did not elaborate on why Frank-Paul Nuuausala took no part in Wigan’s defeat against South Sydney which ended their mini-tour Down Under.
The Kiwi prop was squeezed out of the frame for the Super League win against Hull FC but, with teams able to use extended benches for Saturday’s exhibition match, he was expected to figure.
He was even named as one of the 14 substitutes in the initial squad, but didn’t figure in the team-sheet for the game, which Wigan lost 18-8.
Given the simmering speculation over the prop’s future in the winter, his absence did not go unnoticed.
Asked afterwards why Nuuausala didn’t feature, Wane said he was just not selected, without giving any further explanation.
There were no reported injuries from the match. Wigan flew out of Sydney yesterday and will have a quick turnaround before their next game - at Warrington this Friday.
Wane gave fringe players Gabriel Hamlin, Romain Navarrete and Jake Shorrocks - as well as young players Craig Mullen, Liam Paisley and Callum Field - plenty of game-time against Souths, to try and keep his big-guns fresh for the televised derby.
“We were keen to look after our starting team for that so we put a lot of kids out in that second-half,” said Wane, who had started with a first-choice side.
“It was a fantastic experience for them but we’re still disappointed we didn’t get the win.”
He said the defeat did not take the shine off their trip to New South Wales and is keen to repeat the venture down the line.
“I’d rather come for longer!” he added. “I’ve really enjoyed it and it’s been an unbelievable experience for all of the players and staff.
“I’d love to come back here, the venues that we’ve trained at have been superb, the hotels, the pitches, the welcome that we’ve had- you can’t fault it.”