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Wigan Warriors boss Matty Peet explains the importance of today’s friendly and gives update on Zak Hardaker

Wigan battle Warrington today in Stefan Ratchford’s testimonial and Warriors’ coach Matty Peet has explained the role the game can play in their preparations for what they hope will be a big season.

2021 was somewhat lukewarm as the Warriors slipped to fourth and crashed out of the play-offs in week one after 8-0 defeat to Leeds at the DW Stadium, the third time they were kept tryless at home last season.

Under a new coach, there’s hope the Warriors can turn things around and today’s game could be crucial to that.

Peet himself certainly thinks so saying ahead of the game: “This is the next stage of our preparation. Some more senior players will start strong but I’m expecting that when we make changes that we maintain standards and that everyone comes on and makes an impact. There’s no shirts being given out, out of sentimentality, everyone is there to do a job, to impress and put their hand up to play when the opportunity presents itself.

“I think it’s a perfect test in that it’ll be a quick game, there’s some physical ball carriers, you know that they have got skill across the park and you know that with the new Coaching staff they are going to play an open and exciting style of rugby.”

He did note that getting the win against one of their main rivals at the top wasn’t the be all and end all but would be crucial in generating some momentum: “It builds good habits to get the win, but it’s far from the main focus. We want a good performance; individuals have to get back into the routine of preparation, blowing away the cobwebs. We can build some combinations, but the result is certainly secondary to that.”

He also gave updates on injured duo Zak Hardaker and Ethan Havard: “Zak is back running, training with the team – he’s been bibbed up so he’s been on no contact at the moment but he’s going to start building his contact up in the next few days. We look to get him in full training at the back end of next week so we’re still hopeful that he will be available for Round 1.

“Ethan is building up after his operation, he’s feeling great. He’s been training really hard but it’s about doing the right things at the right time for him for the moment.”

Nonetheless, today’s game is all about one of the stars of the last decade in the shape of ever-green Stefan Ratchford, and Peet was keen to voice the respect he has for the Warrington fullback: “I’m a big fan of Stefan’s, I always have been. I think when you see a Wigan lad doing well in Super League you’re always proud and you always take a keen eye on their career. I’ve seen him play for St Cuthbert’s, St Pats and then at Salford where I was coaching the reserves.”

You can see what else Peet said ahead of the game today on Wigan’s official site.

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