Wane expects tough Rhinos clash
Wigan Warriors coach Shaun Wane admits his side may be "under-done" going into Friday's First Utility Super League showdown with leaders Leeds Rhinos but he expects his players to rise to the occasion.
The Warriors have piled up 136 points in their last two matches against Bradford Bulls and Hunslet, while conceding just 14, but both games lacked the intensity the Rhinos experienced in knocking St Helens out of the Tetley’s Challenge Cup at the weekend.
"I look at it two ways," Wane said. "We need to be a bit more battle-hardened and that's where Leeds will have an advantage.
"We've lost a day and there wasn't a real good smash-up for us that we would have liked for a game like this.
"But it is what it is. My players won't need any motivating this week.
"It's happened before. My players can get up for big games and they don't come much bigger than Friday."
The trip to Headingley is the first of five consecutive matches away from home for the champions, including a re-match with Leeds at the Magic Weekend in Manchester.
They will have skipper Sean O'Loughlin, hooker Michael McIlorum and stand-off Blake Green all returning against the Rhinos after being rested for the Cup-tie against Hunslet.
Centre Darrell Goulding is also available as Wane gets his head around plugging the gap created by the loss of Iain Thornley for the rest of the season with a torn pectoral muscle.
"We've also Anthony Gelling, Jack Hughes and Dan Sarginson so we've got lots of cover there," Wane said.
Forwards Ben Flower and Eddy Pettybourne remain sidelined but England winger Josh Charnley resumed training today after recovering from a knee injury and is pencilled in to make his return against Leeds at the Etihad Stadium on May 17.
Wane expects Leeds to switch skipper Kevin Sinfield to hooker in the absence of both Paul Aiton, who is suffering from a long-term illness, and Rob Burrow, who will be out for 10 to 12 weeks with a broken collarbone.
"I'm expecting that, with Liam Sutcliffe going into the halves with Danny McGuire," Wane said.