Shaun Wane has warned his champions they still have ‘a lot to do this year’ as he assesses his options ahead of the new season.
The coach is preparing his Warriors side to face Leigh Centurions this coming Sunday, in their only senior pre-season friendly on British soil, before their title defence kicks off against Salford on February 11.
There’s a lot from the Grand Final, a lot we could do betterShaun Wane
And after last season’s injury-ravaged campaign, Wane is looking forward to starting the season with a near-full strength squad, with only Sam Tomkins, Michael McIlorum and Dom Manfredi on the sidelines.
“That (the injury situation) changes by the day,” Wane said.
“Sam’s going to be a few weeks down the line. Whenever we get him back, it depends.
“Liam Farrell has trained today, so there’s only Sam as a real long-term.”
Joe Burgess, returning from a year-long stint in the NRL, missed the end of last term with a hernia, and is expected to make his first appearance since returning against Catalans – Wigan’s last pre-season friendly a week on Saturday.
Manfredi, who has been handed the No.2 shirt for 2017, won’t feature in the regular season after undergoing a knee-reconstruction.
“Dom Manfredi’s gone for most of the year,” said Wane.
“If we get him back for play-offs we’ll be lucky, but apart form that we’ll be ok.”
This Sunday’s friendly doubles-up as McIlorum’s testimonial, though the hooker is set to miss out as he awaits further surgery on a nasty ankle break sustained against Brisbane nearly a year ago.
“It’s going to be over a year since he played so we need to give him some time to get back into it,” Wane explained.
But with four trophies on offer this season, the first of which is the World Club Challenge on February 19, Wane acknowledged there is still room for improvement on the 2016 title-winning campaign.
And he has had no problems getting his players on the same page when it comes to outlining a strategy.
“There’s a lot from the Grand Final, a lot we could do better,” he said. “It’s not that sort of club where we pat each other on the back, the fact is we only won one thing. We have a lot to do this year!
“I feel really good about everybody, really positive.
“Training has been superb, in all our meetings and video they’ve all spoken their minds and we all have one common goal. We need to win as much as we can this year.”