Wigan coach Shaun Wane says he believes old foes Leeds Rhinos are well and truly back in 2017.
The Rhinos endured a dismal 2016 just 12 months on from winning the treble, finishing in the bottom four before eventually preserving their Super League status in the Qualifiers.
And Wane said earlier this week that he always knew the Rhinos would bounce back ahead of Wigan’s trip to Headingley tonight to face Brian McDermott’s side.
“Last year will have hurt them, three players left who had played a lot of games for them so that left a big hole in their roster and they struggled with that but they’ve still some really good players there. Danny McGuire knows his way around, Rob Burrow and Ryan Hall, all very good players.
“I always knew they’d come back and we’d see the real Leeds. Now they’re playing with a lot of confidence and they’re hard to beat, especially at Headingley.”
Wane also admits that the way Leeds play will be a challenge for his side to deal with tonight.
“We need to be squeaky clean and make sure we don’t give them good field position.” He said.
“I watched their game against Huddersfield and they troubled them a lot with their second-phase offload game. That’s not how we play so it’s hard for our players to deal with but we’ve dealt with it before and we need to do it again. It’s just all about concentrating in defence.”
The game is the final one of a four-match block which Rhinos chief executive Gary Hetherington identified as crucial for all involved with the club: but Wane says he hasn’t taken any notice of that.
He said: “I genuinely didn’t see what he wrote. I don’t go on social media.”