Wane eyes biggest prize
Shaun Wane will take more pleasure from coaching Wigan to victory at Old Trafford on Saturday than he did from any of his successes as a player.
The 49-year-old former prop forward played for Great Britain and helped his home-town team to famous wins over both New Zealand and Australian champions Manly on euphoric nights at Central Park.
Wane also won a Challenge Cup final at Wembley and was in the Wigan team that beat Saturday's Grand Final opponents Warrington on their only previous meeting at Old Trafford, the 1987 Premiership final.
But that will all pale into insignificance if, six weeks after guiding them to victory at Wembley, he can complete the rare league and cup double in his second season in charge.
"When you are a player you have 12 other players on the field and all the bench players as well," Wane said. "You are not isolated.
"As head coach, the buck stops with you. If you don't perform, you are sacked. If you perform, you stay in a job.
"It is pressure but a good pressure. That is what I enjoy. I love the pressure in this job and I love being in charge of what we do."
Wane, who was assistant to Australian Michael Maguire when the Warriors won the 2010 Grand Final, enjoyed his finest moment when they beat Hull in the Challenge Cup final in August which earned him a contract extension and now he has his sights set on even bigger glory.
"The weekend at Wembley was the best weekend of my life, no doubt about it," he said. "I loved it. I loved the way we performed, the win, everything we did afterwards. I loved it all.
"And that is what I want. I want to be in those big games and we have got another one this weekend. It means everything to me. If I could get a double this weekend it would be a dream of a season."
It would also mark a fairytale finish for popular Australian Pat Richards and England internationals Sam Tomkins and Lee Mossop, who will all pack their bags after the World Cup and embark on new careers in the NRL.
Richards returns to Wests Tigers with Wane's blessing after giving eight years' splendid service to Wigan and the coach has also come around to accepting the loss of Tomkins and Mossop, two players he helped bring through the club's junior system.
Tomkins burst onto the scene as a fresh-faced teenager with five tries on his debut in a Challenge Cup-tie against Whitehaven in 2008 and Wane would not be surprised to see him go out with a bang too.
"He does great things," Wane said. "He wants to compete and win big games. That is what makes him the player he is.
"There is no bigger stage than this. His last game, a Grand Final. It is what dreams are made of."