Wigan boss Shaun Wane is determined to “go out with a bang”as he readies himself for an emotional final home game.
The 54-year-old is bringing his 30-year association with his home-town club to an end as he prepares to take up a new role as high performance coach with the Scottish Rugby Union.
Wane will take charge for the last time at the DW Stadium on Friday night when the Warriors host Castleford in the second Super League semi-final but he is desperately hoping that Old Trafford, venue for next Saturday’s Grand Final, can provide the setting for his farewell.
Wane said: “I’m excited and looking forward to a big game, a bit sad. I’ve been here a long time and I’m very close to the players.
“So that’s coming to an end, but that’s life.
“When I resigned, I made the point that I wasn’t comfortable about everything being about me, I’d rather it be about the team and the game.
“I understand it’s a big thing, I’ve been here 30 years, I get that, but if it can be as close as possible to a normal week, I’d be happy with that.”
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Wigan are also saying goodbye to another home-town favourite, Sam Tomkins, as well as NRL-bound duo John Bateman and Ryan Sutton and backroom staff members Matty Peet and Mark Bitcon, and Wane admits emotions will be running high on Friday night.
“I try to breed a very close-knit family club and it’s all splitting up,” he said.
“But it’s exciting for the club, they will look at it that way. But for me, I want to go out with a bang, hopefully get to Old Trafford and get the win. So without a shadow of doubt it will be very emotional.”
Castleford will be out to put a dampener on the occasion and coach Daryl Powell insists his side will have just as much motivation to reach a second successive Grand Final.
The Yorkshire club have unfinished business at Old Trafford after they lost to Leeds in the final 12 months ago and are keen to send popular centre Jake Webster out on a high as he prepares to join Bradford for 2019.
Powell says his team will also be spurred by their Deam Team snub, with Castleford and fellow semi-finalists Warrington failing to provide a single player between them.
“It’s added motivation for us,” Powell said. “We’ve got some players who can feel pretty hard done by.
“It’s different people’s opinions and in my opinion we’ve had some players who have been awesome this year and, by the way, we’re in third place. I think we’ve done a good job.
“Warrington might say the same thing. They’ve had a pretty consistent year as well and got some pretty tidy players in there.
“We’ll add that to the pile of other motivating factors that we’ve got to do well on Friday night. We’ve got a couple of boys leaving and we lost the final last year, so that’s another motivating factor.”