‘Widnes will hope to catch us cold’

Shaun Wane applauds his side's effort
Shaun Wane applauds his side's effort
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Shaun Wane expects Widnes will try and catch Wigan cold as attention switches back to Super League.

The Warriors’ World Club Challenge win on Sunday proved emotionally and physically taxing for the players.

They also spent the following day celebrating – and Wane imagines the Vikings will sense a golden chance to take advantage.

“Yes, they will,” admits Wane.

“But they will also understand we have a tough mentality and we can play.

“We’ve been smart with the players to make sure they’re fresh, and I’m confident they’ll be ready.”

Wane has decided not to do a video review of Sunday’s 22-6 win against Cronulla to ensure he doesn’t “kill the mood”.

But he senses there are areas they can make huge improvements.

If that serves as a chilling warning for the rest of the competition – given the margin of their win against the NRL premiers – it is not his intention.

“Every coach has his opinion and I don’t want to sound arrogant, the senior players agreed and said we can play a lot better,” said Wane.

“We need to play better to win games in Super League.

“Our completion-rate in the first-half was 50 per cent, and you can not win games at that completion, you’re doing that much defending and when you get the ball back, you’re that fatigued your attack suffers.

“I can never question the lack of character and effort, that’s the DNA and they showed that – we just need to be smarter.

“We can’t drop the ball on our first attacking set or from a kick-off after we’ve just scored; it wasn’t good enough.”

Widnes twice won at the DW Stadium last year.

“Connor Farrell was there on loan last year, he told me all the ex-Wigan players want to play well against them, that’s why this is always a tough game,” said Wane.

But the Vikings look to be short at halfback, with Tom Gilmore joining regular halfback Joe Mellor on the sidelines. Widnes decided not to replace Kevin Brown when he moved to Warrington in the off-season.

Wane has named an unchanged 19-man squad, having decided not to make sweeping changes to the squad which beat Cronulla.

He has already said Willie Isa – who missed out – will come in, meaning one of the WCC-winning side will be rested. He also has the option of giving winger Liam Marshall a debut.

Kick-off is 8pm and the game is live on Sky Sports.

Wigan’s 19 man squad: Bateman, Burgess, Clubb Escare, Farrell, Flower, Gelling, Gildart, Isa, Leuluai, Marshall, Nuuausala, O’Loughlin, Powell, Sutton, Tautai, Tierney, Tomkins, Williams.

Widnes 19 man squad: Armstrong, Bridge, Buchanan, Burke, Cahill, Chapelhow, Craven, Dudson, Hanbury, Heremaia, Houston, Johnstone, Leuluai, Marsh, Olbison, Runciman, Thompson, White, Whitley.