Wilkin’s ‘rip in’ talk amazes Wane

Shaun Wane
Shaun Wane

SHAUN Wane is taking little notice of Jon Wilkin’s warning as Wigan look to make it two from two at Langtree Park.

The Saints forward come half back promised they will ‘rip into’ Wigan on Monday night as the home side look to dent the Warriors’ hopes of finishing top.

But the message has surprised Wane – as he believes physicality and derby games go hand in hand.

“I’m amazed Wilkin said that, saying they will rip into us,” said Wane.

“Don’t think we will just be there watching – it will be a physical game and like every derby game it’s going to be full-on. We won’t have our eyes anywhere else.”

Wane has admitted Sean O’Loughlin, Sam Tomkins and Michael McIlorum could all miss the clash due to knee injuries but is adamant whichever side he puts out will be going for nothing less than victory.

“The players know what it means to me to go to St Helens,” Wane said.

“If we have to make changes then we have to make changes so I expect us to be competitive and we will.”

This year’s short trip to St Helens has the added importance of the Warriors needing the two points on offer to stave off Huddersfield’s challenge for Wigan’s place on the ladder.

But Wane’s desire to beat Saints is just as strong regardless of any other rewards which might happen as a result. “I don’t think that way – I just think about us getting the two points and the knock-on effect will be that we will be in a good position,” Wane said.

“I’m quite a simple soul – I concentrate of one thing at a time and that’s getting two points at St Helens then everything will look after itself.”

Despite the importance everyone at the Wigan club and its fans place on beating St Helens, it is hard to ignore the fact a Challenge Cup semi-final acts as a potential distraction to the game. While Wane insists Wigan’s full attention is currently on the derby, he does admit to not being the biggest fan of the way the fixtures have fallen.

“I would rather have had a game so soon after the semi finals than before,” he said.

“You just need to deal with it.”

“From a personal point of view I would have liked more time to get into the players but it’s not going to happen that way – we just need to make the best of it we can no matter what happens what happens come five o’clock on Saturday we will be ready to play and hopefully get through to Wembley.”

Wane will have to prepare sore bodies for the biggest game of the season so far in terms of what is at stake following Monday’s clash and is desperate for the hard work throughout the season for his squad will be rewarded.

“There is a lot of work to be done yet and London will be thinking exactly the same as me.

“I do know that I have a quality, very talented group of players and I just want to make sure everyone is focused.”

Wane lifted the Challenge Cup as a player for Wigan as well as in 2011 as assistant coach to Michael Maguire when Wigan beat Leeds.

But Wane thinks if the Warriors manage to bring the trophy home for a 19th time this season it will be his best yet.

“I would mean probably more to me as a coach. All the staff and all the players have bought into the systems – it would be great,” he said.