Wigan Warriors chief addicted to final bows as Wembley showdown looms large

Friendly foe: Wigan Warriors coach Shaun Wane is a big pal of Lee Radford.
Friendly foe: Wigan Warriors coach Shaun Wane is a big pal of Lee Radford.
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Wigan Warriors coach Shaun Wane says he texts his “mate” Lee Radford more than any other coach in Super League.

They go head-to-head today as Radford’s Challenge Cup holders Hull FC face Wigan at Wembley.

It makes me a bit more motivated. I want to get one over him and I’m sure he feels the same way.

Wigan coach Shaun Wane

Wane says the top-flight coaching fraternity is actually tighter than some may imagine and, within it, he and his fellow erstwhile prop have a bond.

He explained: “You’ll find the coaches all look out for each other, because it’s not an easy gig, and we all know what each other is going through.

“I probably message Lee more than any other coach.

“I like him, we’re mates, we text regularly.

“I rated him as a player, and I like how his team plays now he’s a coach.

“It makes me a bit more motivated. I want to get one over him and I’m sure he feels the same way.”

Wane admits he has become addicted to featuring in finals.

He leads his side out at Wembley for the second time of his head coaching career this afternoon.

Wane – who played for Leeds from 1990 to 1993 – has already taken his men into two World Club Challenge deciders and four Super League Grand Finals since succeeding Michael Maguire in 2012.

“When I took over, the one thing I wanted to do was lead my team out at Wembley,” said the 52-year-old, who did so when Wigan beat Hull in 2013, Radford then still an assistant coach at FC.

“That was the goal and I thought: ‘If I can do that as a head coach, I’ll be happy.’

“But I did it, and I won it, and I’m addicted to it. I want to do it again and again. I want to be back here next year. I’m more motivated than ever.”

Wane says it is the test against a flying Hull side – and not the occasion – which has him hooked.

He said: “The build-up, the pressure, the chance to pit my wits against Lee... everything. I love it. I am addicted.”