Strikes derail rugby league final
After 30 years at his hometown club, the Warriors boss is aiming to go out with a bang in his last match in charge
RUGBY league fans are snubbing today’s Grand Final at Old Trafford because of fresh rail chaos.
More than 70,000 Super League fans are due to see Wigan lock horns with Warrington in Manchester.
But no Northern trains will today run between the city and Wigan, with very few services running to and from Warrington. And there will be none after the game as workers down tools for the 31st day of strikes in a dispute over train guards.
Wigan fan Joe Charnock said: “Many fans are going to watch it in their local pub or club, it’s not worth the hassle.” Three more 24-hour strikes on Northern, a rugby league sponsor, were announced last night.
The rail operator called the action “disappointing”. RMT union’s Mick Cash claimed Northern were “not interested in meaningful talks”.
SHAUN WANE walked into Wigan at 14 years old in awe of the club, and will leave tonight with the same opinion.
An association spanning 30 years as player, academy coach and now head coach will come to an end when Wane departs no matter what tonight’s Grand Final result against Warrington Wolves at Old Trafford.
The 54-year-old made the decision to step down after seven years at the helm, and later this month will begin a consultancy role with the Scottish RU.
Before then he has the chance to lift a third Super League title as coach to go alongside a Challenge Cup, World
Club Challenge and League Leaders’ Shield from his time in charge of his hometown club.
Wane said: “I never thought it would end but sadly it’s come to that.
“But I’m glad that we’ve ended it this week. I didn’t want to finish last week so to finish at Old Trafford – hopefully as a winner – that’ll do for me.
“I was only 14 when I was first invited down to train at the club, but I was quite big for my age. I remember there were all my heroes because I’d watched Wigan from when I was four. It was a fantastic day.
“I never thought I’d end up playing for them and I definitely never thought I’d be coaching them.”
Wane will combine added focus on his building company in the town with the part-time role north of the border,
But he admits it will be difficult to fill the gaps of what he describes as “eight-day weeks” at Wigan.
A brief spell with Leeds at the end of his playing career and time away from the club altogether before he turned to coaching gave him an insight into life without Wigan, but he concedes it is not a prospect he is relishing. Now as he stands with the exit door ajar, Wane has been trying to keep a lid on the emotional factor that surrounds his departure, plus that of key players Sam Tomkins (below), Ryan Sutton and John Bateman.
Wane said: “We have to manage that, but it’s a piece of grass, and a game of rugby we need to concentrate on.
“It’s just narrowing the focus into what’s going to win us the game. When I got the job I said it’s my dream job, and I still feel the same way.
“There’s no other job I would want, but I’ve chosen to resign for my own personal reasons and I think I’ve done my bit for the club.
“I think I’ve done OK – I’ve improved the team, we’ve won things, we’ve got some good kids coming through, our culture’s good and the guys are respectful.
“The 30 years is a long time and I was brought up 200 metres away from the ground so it’s in my blood.
“I’m a league man, but it was my call and I’m just going to have to tough it out, that’s the way it is.”