Wane to make changes for “must-win” game on Friday despite players’ protests

Wigan Warriors coach Shaun Wane has admitted he will make some changes for Friday’s clash against Widnes – but says all of his players have asked to be kept in the team following Sunday’s World Club Challenge.

Wigan resume their league campaign with a home tie against Denis Betts’ Vikings looking to make it back-to-back wins at the start of the new Super League season.

And while Wane admitted he will tinker slightly with his team, he will keep most of his team in the side.

“Every single player came up to me in the pub on Sunday night and said they want to play on Friday,” Wane said. “Nobody wants resting.

“We’ve lots of bumps and bruises because it was a tough game but nothing major. When you win those big games, nobody gets injured. We’ll be smart with the players and make sure they are fresh for Friday.

“I’ll make a couple of changes. Willie Isa will come in and play against his old club.”

Wane also described the clash against the Vikings as “must-win”.

“We celebrated what was a massive win for the club and enjoyed the night but now it’s back in the grind of Super League and we’ve got a must-win game on Friday against Widnes,” he said.

And Wane praised Isa for his attitude after being left out of the win against Cronulla.

“I was gutted about him not playing last week. It was probably the toughest decision I’ve ever made. I left Jake Shorrocks out of the Grand Final last year but this was a lot tougher because he’d done nothing wrong.

“I just needed a big bench and he understood it. His attitude was great.”

Meanwhile, Wane revealed he had numerous messages of congratulation for guiding Wigan to becoming world champions – but there was one Super League coach who didn’t message him.

“I sent Tony (Smith, Warrington coach) a message after Saturday’s game congratulating him and he sent me one after our game,” he said.

“There’s a real good camaraderie with all the Super League clubs, I’ve had loads of messages from coaches, nearly every single club sent me a nice message, the exception was Daryl (Powell) at Cas but it is what it is.”