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Super League Grand Final 2016

Wane urges Wigan focus

1st of August 2013
Wane urges Wigan focus

Wigan Warriors will put thoughts of Wembley aside as they bid to reclaim top spot in Super League on Friday night.

Wigan Warriors will put thoughts of Wembley aside as they bid to reclaim top spot in Super League on Friday night.

The Warriors have a Challenge Cup final date with Hull to look forward to later in the month, yet their league challenge will be the priority for the next three weeks.

Shaun Wane's men surrendered their position at the summit to Huddersfield Giants as they were beaten by arch-rivals St Helens in their last Super League outing.

They now have back-to-back home games against Hull KR and the new leaders and then a trip to Catalan Dragons before Wembley - three matches that could be decisive in the fight for first place.

Head coach Wane said: "We have put ourselves in a good position to try and retain the League Leaders' Shield but we are not at the top of the competition at the moment; that belongs to Huddersfield and they deserve that.

"We have Huddersfield in a couple of weeks but the first and most important is Hull KR. All I am thinking about is Friday night and I want us to be at our best."

With such a schedule, Wane intends to rest prolific goalkicking winger and forward Liam Farrell for the visit of Rovers to the DW Stadium.

Wane has added 18-year-old centre Joe Burgess to his squad for the first time and pointed out that he, and others, have the chance to force their way into the cup final reckoning.

Wane said: "I will look to give the players a chance and will use the next three games to give everyone a chance to put their hand up and give themselves an opportunity to play in that game.

"There are some places up for grabs and the best will play."

Wigan are in great heart after thrashing London Broncos 70-0 in their Challenge Cup semi-final and Hull KR need no reminding of the Warriors' potency.

The Robins were hammered 84-6 by Wigan on Easter Monday and fared only moderately better, losing 46-14, when the sides met in the Challenge Cup in May.

Full-back Sam Tomkins is the Warriors' obvious dangerman and Rovers coach Craig Sandercock knows his team must starve him of opportunities.

Sandercock said: "He has got what a lot of elite players have, and that is anticipation and speed. If you have those two things, on the back of quick play the balls, you can be dangerous.

"We need to make sure we do a decent job in the middle of the park and limit his opportunities. Statistics tell you that if Sam Tomkins plays, they very rarely lose.

"He is obviously the main danger but if you look at their team they have got threats all over the park. We just need to be at the top of our game."

Rovers, in sixth and looking to leapfrog Catalan, are in firm play-off contention themselves but want no repeat of their last outing, when they lost 34-6 at Warrington Wolves.

Sandercock said: "I think we gave away eight or nine penalties in the second half and we just kept inviting them down our end of the field. We can't do that against Wigan."

Wigan's cup final opponents Hull are also in action on Friday as they host Widnes Vikings at the KC Stadium.

The Airlie Birds will hope their shock defeat of Warrington in a classic semi-final will reinvigorate their league form after a run of five successive defeats that has put their top-eight place in jeopardy.

Half-back Jacob Miller said: "It's definitely started to sink in that we've reached the final but we've got to get our season back on track in the regular competition and we're looking forward to doing that.

"We've got to start preparing for every game like it's a cup game and if we do that we'll be winning a lot more games."

Hull are without full-back Shannon McDonnell, who was injured in the early stages against Warrington.

Widnes, who are four points off the play-off places, have lost hooker Lloyd White to an ankle injury but loose forward Hep Cahill could shake off his own ankle problem.

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