DOM Crosby has vowed to play a leading role for Wigan tonight and help secure a top-three Super League finish.
The prop says it is vital the Warriors front-row win the battle for dominance down the middle if they are to get the better of Warrington at the DW Stadium.
The winners of tonight’s contest could finish as high as second, while the losers may slip to fifth – stakes which should amp up the intensity of an already-feisty contest.
And Crosby has pinpointed rival front-rower Chris Hill as the man they need to shut down to choke the Wolves’ slick backs of good attacking positions.
He said: “Warrington like to play it fast so it’s a big test for the middles.
“Chris Hill gets them on the front-foot, he’s killed it this year, but these are the games you want to play in – to test yourself against the best.
“If we run harder and tackle harder, there’s a good chance you’re going to win the game, it’s really important we dominate their middles.”
Crosby has come of age this season, figuring 22 times for the first-team and edging forward in the pecking order.
He has been a starting prop for the last three matches, an achievement in itself, given Tony Clubb and Eddy Pettybourne were on the bench and Gil Dudson, Jordan James and Scott Taylor were left out of the squad.
The academy-product credits an off-season in the gym, bulking up his frame with 10kg of muscle, and Shaun Wane’s pursuit of perfection for his strides.
“Waney wanted me bigger and it’s benefiting my game,” he said.
“I set myself goals at the start of the year, and in the second part I’ve felt like I’ve contributed to the team.
“Waney’s tough on me but I’d rather him that way, it only makes me better.
“There’s times when you feel like you’ve done okay and he’ll pick something to improve on, but that’s why you’re at Wigan – and that’s why we’re as big as we are and as good as we are.
“You’re expected to play well, it’s Wigan, it’s the biggest club in the world.”
While tonight’s contest shapes the final league table, Crosby believes the confidence gained from a win would be as important as the two points.
The 23-year-old added: “We want to be on the front foot going into these play-offs.”
Tonight’s winners will be guaranteed a top-three spot and would finish second if Castleford lose at Catalan. The losers will slide to fifth if Huddersfield beat St Helens tomorrow.