WIGAN WARRIORS coach Shaun Wane has heaped praise on Leeds Rhinos ahead of tonight’s Magic Weekend tussle in Newcastle.
Rhinos are top of First Utility Super League, three points clear of Wane’s men.
“I’m really glad we’re playing the best team in the comp’, they’re always great games between us and Leeds and I’ve every respect for them,” said Wane, whose side have beaten Leeds at the past two Magic Weekends.
“They are a great team, with some great players. They’ve got two of the best centres in the comp’, their back five are really strong, they’re playing with a bit more structure now and are very tough to beat.”
Wigan are on the back of successive losses, to Hull KR in the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup and last weekend’s 58-16 drubbing at Catalans Dragons, but won five in a row before that, including three clean sheets.
“They are the form team in the competition, so we need to be a lot better,” Wane added.
“We need to play a lot better and defend like we did against Brisbane (in the World Club Series) and attack like we attacked against Warrington.
“We’ll trouble Leeds, but we need to stay with them – they play with a high intensity and they defend with some vigour.
“There’s no doubt about it, they’re a tough team to beat, but we did it last year with a weak team at the Etihad so it’s a good competition for us.
“We’ve still no Tony Clubb, Dom Manfredi, Anthony Gelling, Iain Thornley or Liam Farrell, so we’ve got some big players missing, but that’s a good opportunity for everybody to step up and that will make the win, if we can get it, more enjoyable.”