Shaun Wane has defiantly claimed that Wigan’s mounting injury problems mean nothing when it comes to the Warriors’ rivalry with St Helens: which will be renewed again this evening.
Wigan are without key names such as George Williams, Oliver Gildart and captain Sean O’Loughlin – and new signing Chris Hankinson is likely to debut having signed from Swinton in the week.
Wane, however, has promised whatever side he puts out will be up to the challenge.
“There’s a lot of desire within this group and having players out and weakened teams – ultimately it doesn’t matter,” he said.
“It’s Wigan versus Saints, it’s the biggest derby in our competition and it means a lot to me, to our players, our fans, our town and we’ll be giving it everything. St Helens are a team in a confident mood and everyone seems to be backing them, but we’re using that as added motivation to be honest. One thing I’d never do with any of our teams is write them off.”
Wane also insisted he has not focussed too much on the gap between the Warriors and the runaway Super League leaders – which will be stretched to ten points should Justin Holbrook’s side win on Thursday evening.
“I don’t know if we can catch them mathematically, but I know that we’ll keep trying,” the Warriors coach added.
“The one thing I’ve been focussed on this week since the second after the final whistle against Huddersfield has been this Saints game. If you need a game after a poor performance, then this is it.
“It means everything to all the Wigan lads in the team, but probably most importantly, to the lads who aren’t from Wigan. Your Tony Clubb’s, Dan Sarginson’s and Tommy Leuluai’s of this world – they understand what it means to me and what it means to the rest of the lads. It’s a big one against a team who are very confident, pretty much injury-free and everything seems to be going their way – so it’s a massive challenge: but we’re definitely looking forward to it.”