Wane backs youngsters to fire
Wigan Warriors coach Shaun Wane is expecting his young guns to maintain the club’s assault on the Stobart Super League leaders’ shield when Hull FC visit the DW Stadium tonight.
The Warriors are without six members of their first-team squad because of injury and, although several are expected back for the crunch clash with second-placed Warrington Wolves next Saturday, Wane insists the youngsters are playing for places.
Rookie winger Iain Thornley will get the chance to add to his try haul on his fourth Super League appearance, teenage stand-off Sam Powell will make his debut in the absence of Australian playmaker Brett Finch and little-known Jack Hughes deputises for injured centre Darrell Goulding.
“Whatever team I pick they will be really competitive,” Wane said.
“I won’t deny when it comes to Warrington I am going to pick my most experienced team but, if any youngsters come through and shine continuously, they will stay in.”
While Wigan are aiming to open up a five-point lead ahead of Warrington’s derby at third-placed St Helens on Monday, Hull are looking to maintain their recent improvement going into the play-offs.
A third successive win would lift them above defending champions Leeds Rhinos into fifth place and reinforce their play-off credentials.
“We are preparing now for semi-final football and we don’t want to go into the play-offs and make the numbers up,” said coach Peter Gentle. “We want to be going in there challenging.
“We’ve shown in the past two weeks that we are capable of doing that. Whether we finish top four, top six or top eight, we’ve shown we can compete but we have to be able to do it against the top sides.”