Frank-Paul Nuuausala has called on Wigan to rediscover their ‘ruthless mentality’ if they are to continue their charge to an unlikely top-four finish.
The Warriors face Catalans Dragons in Perpignan on Saturday evening, knowing another two points – on the back of last weekend’s morale-boosting win over Widnes – will keep the teams at the top looking over their shoulders.
But he knows the side have to show more of a cutting edge against the French side or they risk coming unstuck, which was very nearly the case against the Vikings.
“We just don’t have that ruthless mentality to just finish teams off,” Nuuausala acknowledged.
“I thought we had Widnes then just let them go, they got a little sniff and they were there until the last 10 minutes, when the boys defended well.
“I think we defended our line for more than 10 minutes, and we just stopped scoring opportunities.
“Then when we attacked their line, we held the ball, and we ran away with the game.
“It’s going to be tough for us, especially playing in France, but it’s another two points for us, so we know it’s a big game.
“They always aim up, especially in France where they have the home advantage and they probably want to knock us off our blocks because we’re Wigan.”
The win over Widnes was Wigan’s first in the league since April – ironically, when they beat Catalans.
And, on the back of reaching the Challenge Cup semi-finals, Nuuausala says it has generated some welcome belief.
“The win last week has lifted the mood, 100 per cent,” the big Kiwi recognised.
“Winning always affects every day. I know it was a scrappy win and we weren’t happy with how we won, but two points is two points and it puts us in the right stead in the top eight.
“We’re still disappointed at how we can’t control the ball and are still conceding soft tries they don’t deserve.
“It’s just the fundamental stuff we need to concentrate on, especially holding on to the ball and our defence one on one.
“Having all the players back is good but it’s the gelling.
“We’ve never had a proper team since the World Club game. It’s good to have a full team back, but it’s going to take a while.
“Hopefully, everything is clicking now – because it’s now or never.”
Nuuausala, who joined Wigan this time last year from the Sydney Roosters, has recent experience of playing in France, with the Warriors having travelled over during pre-season.
“France was all right when I went over in pre-season, I liked it,” Nuuausala revealed.
“I’ve been there before to play with New Zealand but it’s nice and the weather is similar to Australia.
“The temperature difference is probably the main thing.
“We’re probably not used to the heat, but I know the boys played there last year in the same type of conditions and did the job, so we’ve got to go and do the same as we did then.
“I’m expecting Catalans to be physical and tough.
“They run hard, they tackle hard, their middles will be physical, and will try to get one up on us straight away.
“It’s going to be a good, physical game and, if we can get the job done in the first 20 minutes, then take care of the ball in defence, we’ll run away in the last 20 minutes.”