Wane hints Flower and O’Loughlin could play against Wolves

Wigan coach Shaun Wane has confirmed that his team will be different when it faces Warrington on Thursday evening at the DW Stadium.

Ben Flower will be available for selection again, following his lengthy suspension for striking Lance Hohaia in the Grand Final.

England loose forward Sean O’Loughlin could also be fit again, while Wane also hinted that Sam Powell would also come into contention.

“I’ll be making changes, I want the best,” he said.

“Ben will be fit to play, and Sean O’Loughlin might be fit to play, and Sam Powell might be fit to play.

“If I feel we need to make some changes then I will do that. I don’t think twice about it.

“I want the best performing players to play every week.

“It’s quite simple for me, for the players: if you want to stay in the team, play well every week, be consistent, and you’ll give yourself a chance to play.”

After a busy Easter period for every team in Super League, Wane knows that Thursday night’s game will be a real test of how both teams can cope with fatigue.

The role played by the fitness and conditioning staff in the run-up to the game will be vital to his team’s chances of victory.

“I understand that Warrington are a very, very good team,” he said.

“I know that they’re a real challenge for us. But we’ll be ready to entertain them on Thursday.

“It’s a mental challenge on Thursday because the players won’t be feeling great.

“But neither will Warrington, so it’s who wants the game more.

“We’ll be fresh. It’ll be a lot of massage, a lot of ice, a lot of swimming.

“The players will be not as sore on Thursday. That’s our job to manage it.

“We’ve managed them well this week, and I’m pleased with how all of the staff have worked hard and we’ve come out with three out of four over Easter.”

Meanwhile, Wane was impressed with the way his team played in their 34-0 home win over Catalans on Sunday.

The Warriors scored eight tries, and the margin of victory could have been higher if Ryan Hampshire had kicked more than one conversion.

But it was the players’ performance in defence which particularly pleased the Wigan chief.

“I thought we were very professional today, in difficult conditions against a very good team,” he said.

“I thought we went about our business really well, and I’m really pleased that we got two points.

“The manner of the way we defended was the satisfying thing.

“It was poor conditions, but we managed to score 30-odd points, and it could have been a lot more with our kicking game on form.

“When you consider that we’re a little busted with injuries at the moment – we’ve got players who are due back – to come up with a performance like that, against a team as quality as that, was very, very impressive.”

One thing which will definitely change on Thursday evening is Wigan’s goal kicker.

Hampshire’s uimpressive performance is unlikely to be repeated, with the kicking duties falling back onto the shoulders of scrum-half Matty Smith.

Matty Smith had a tight hamstring, so he stopped kicking,” Wane explained.

“But he’ll be kicking on Thursday! Especially after that today.”

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