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Warriors will be more confrontational, says Tautai

Taulima Tautai in action at Leigh last Sunday
Taulima Tautai in action at Leigh last Sunday

Taulima Tautai has told fans to expect a more “confrontational” Wigan pack this year.

The prop admits the forwards were too passive at stages last season, which saw them finish outside the top-four for the first time since 2009.

He says their disappointing finish acted like a “kick in the backside”.

And the Aussie is confident they have addressed the issue through a series of frank discussions among themselves and with coach Shaun Wane, and a punishing pre-season schedule which has left him feeling the strongest he has been in years.

Tautai said: “A big thing for us as a middle unit was we weren’t confrontational enough.

“You look at Leeds, who won the comp’, they had a very good pack. Same as Hull, who beat us at Wembley.

“We want to step it up again.

“Last year was a kick in the backside for us. There were a lot of games which we kind of let go. I think this will be a better year.”

Tautai echoed remarks from many of his team-mates that the pre-season has been more intense than in recent years.

“And from that we’re closer, we’re tighter, we know our roles... we’re all on the same page,” said the 29-year-old.

“It’s been a very long, tough pre-season and this is the strongest and fittest I’ve felt in a long time.”

Wane’s prop options last season were restricted by injuries to the likes of Ben Flower, Tony Clubb and Joel Tomkins.

But they are all fit again, Aussie Gabriel Hamlin has jointed in the winter and Romain Navarrete has returned from a loan spell at Catalans.

“We have depth in the middle now,” added ex-Wakefield prop Tautai. “So I’ve got a week in, week out challenge to keep my spot.”

Coaches and senior players of the 12 Super League clubs will officially launch the new season in Huddersfield today. Wigan travel to Salford on Friday February 2.