Far from being downcast after a World Club Challenge thrashing, Wigan coach Shaun Wane says he intends to return to Australia to win the prized trophy.
Wigan coach Shaun Wane’s enthusiasm for the World Club Challenge remains undimmed by his side’s comprehensive defeat by Sydney Roosters.
Wane took the gamble of taking his team to Australia for the annual challenge match in the hope of repeating the club’s famous victory over Brisbane Broncos in 1994, but they were no match for the NRL champions at the Sydney Football Stadium.
The Super League champions never recovered from the shock of conceding three tries in the first 22 minutes, although England winger Josh Charnley scored two tries on his 100th appearance during a brief comeback before his side went down 36-14 in front of a 31,515 crowd.
“The trip has been a great experience and we have loved it,” Wane said. “That sort of speed of game has been a great experience for my young players and it has given them the want to come back here again and we will.
“I want to win the competition in England and come back here again – there is no question about that.”
Wigan, who return to action against Wakefield at the DW Stadium next Sunday, took a fortnight out from their domestic commitments in order to become the first Super League team to play the WCC down under.
Leeds, Super League champions in five of the last seven years, were also keen to test themselves in Australia and the Rhinos chief executive Gary Hetherington is pushing for the event to be expanded into a six-club competition featuring the top three teams from each country.
Sydney Roosters coach Trent Robinson, who spent two years in Super League as boss of Catalan Dragons, gave his backing to Hetherington’s plan in the post-match press conference and also hit out at the organisers’ failure to properly market Saturday’s match, arguing it should have been a sell-out.
Former England captain Jamie Peacock, who made a record seven World Club Challenge appearances for Bradford and Leeds, welcomed Robinson’s support to grow the competition.
“It needs expanding next year,” Peacock said. “Let’s get three or four of the Super League sides up against three or four of the NRL sides.”
A working party comprising officials of both Super League and the NRL is looking at the future of the Challenge and Wane believes his side’s emphatic defeat should not derail plans to expand it in 2015.
“I would like to increase the number of clubs that play in it,” Wane said. “It is a great concept… I just wish everyone could have seen the real Wigan Warriors.
“I am upset with the way we played and the way we started the game. You just can’t start like that against quality teams and without a doubt the best team won.
“They are a champion team. We just didn’t perform but we will get better. We are a young side and I want to come back here with my team and give a better account of ourselves.”