Wigan Warriors coach Shaun Wane admitted recent defeats for Magic Weekend opponents Leeds Rhinos unsettle him ahead of their clash at the Etihad Stadium.
The champions were knocked out of the Challenge Cup by Huddersfield Giants and suffered the consequence of a St Helens comeback on Monday to dent their minor premiership hopes.
But Wane, who finished his playing career at Leeds, thinks the sting of those defeats will increase their appetite for a second league win over the Warriors this term.
“We are probably facing Leeds at the wrong time,” admitted Wane.
“We know on the edges they have some great players with the likes of Kallum Watkins and Ryan Hall – they have some outstanding players – so I am not taking anything for granted.
“If we had been knocked out of the cup and then been beaten by St. Helens I would make sure my players were fired-up for this weekend and I am sure Leeds will be hell-bent on getting the two points.”
The Rhinos have never lost a Magic Weekend fixture, where seven Super League games are played in two days at one venue, but Wigan haven’t lost since the sides last met in March.
“When we went to Leeds earlier in the season it was a great game but at the end of the day we lost and we want to make sure that does not happen again,” said Wane.
“That day we were without seven regulars but we came close and could have won.
“I remember speaking to the players afterwards and they felt hurt. They don’t want to feel that way again and this weekend is a chance to put that right.”
The top of the table bout will close the weekend, now in its seventh season and Wane hopes for a repeat of last year’s Magic success where Wigan beat St. Helens 16-42 in an ill-tempered match.
“I love the concept, it is a great weekend played at a fantastic stadium and to see the spectators embracing it gives it all the makings of a fantastic event,” said Wane.
Image courtesy of Super League TV, via YouTube, with thanks