22nd February 2018, 16:12 | super_league
Wigan Warriors coach Shaun Wane insists there will be no excuses if his side fail to extend their winning start to the Betfred Super League season at Warrington Wolves on Friday.
The Warriors are the first of three Super League clubs to return to domestic action following their trips to Australia.
Hull FC, who played Wigan in the first Super League fixture to be staged outside Europe, take on Castleford Tigers on Saturday while Leeds Rhinos, who lost to Melbourne in the World Club Challenge, have the longest recovery time as they prepare to face Widnes Vikings on Sunday.
Wigan, one of only four teams with 100 per cent records after the first two rounds, arrived back from their two-week trip to New South Wales on Monday and Wane says they are ready to face the Wolves.
"The jet lag has gone and training has gone really well," he said.
"There's no excuses, our medical staff have worked wonders with the players and the recovery protocols have been adhered to.
"They'll be feeling great.
"It's perfect that it's Warrington because they got their first win and it will be a great atmosphere. Our record is quite good there."
Warrington coach Steve Price said: “It won’t be easy for Wigan after their trip to Australia and we’ll see how they handle it, but it’s more about us getting our own backyard in order and building on what we did well last week in the win over Widnes."
Wane has dropped winger Joe Burgess and will switch second rower John Bateman to centre in place of Dan Sarginson, who took a knock on his shoulder against Hull.
England coach Wayne Bennett was roundly criticised for playing Bateman at centre throughout the World Cup and, although Wane was among the critics, he says the current lack of adequate cover has forced his hand.
"If I had been Wayne Bennett, I wouldn't have picked him as a centre," Wane said. "I'm probably going to do the same tomorrow."
Like Bateman, England winger Jermaine McGillvary will make his first appearance since the World Cup final when Huddersfield Giants host early pacesetter St Helens on Friday.
McGillvary, who enjoyed an outstanding tournament, sat out the first two rounds with a niggling knee injury.
“I think it’s a big lift to have Jerry back." said Giants coach Rick Stone. "After what he did in the World Cup everyone is looking at him."
Salford Red Devils, one of only two clubs still without a win, seek to get off the mark against Hull KR, who will be without Danny McGuire for the trip to the AJ Bell Stadium.
Rovers coach Tim Sheens, who upset Salford by making an audacious bid for stand-off Robert Lui on the eve of the season, is also resigned to being without the former Leeds skipper for next Thursday's game against Castleford after he aggravated a rib injury in the win over Catalans Dragons.
"He’s struggling to train let alone play so we’ll sit him out for at least a week," Sheens said.