JEFF Lima insists he’s determined to go out with a bang as he approaches the home straight of his Wigan career.
And he’ll have a vital role to play in trying to stretch their 10-game winning streak on Friday after pack decimated by injuries and suspensions for the trip to champions Leeds.
Shaun Wane called on old-heads, like Lima, to “step up” and cover for the losses of Lee Mossop, Chris Tuson and Gareth Hock.
The trio were all banned by the RFL judiciary on Tuesday night in the aftermath of Sunday’s bruising battle with St Helens.
Mossop and Tuson copped one-game bans, while Hock was given two matches for his role in starting the brawl that saw Saints’ Shaun Maghennis suspended for three matches.
Hock yesterday appealed against the severity of the sentence, but the original decision was upheld and he was forced to surrender a £200 bond on top of a £300 fine.
With Harrison Hansen (broken jaw) joining Paul Prescott, Ben Flower and Stuart Fielden on the sidelines, it leaves Wane with a heavily-depleted pack for the clash with the Rhinos.
But Lima is ready to stand up and be counted – and sign off in style before he returns Down Under to join South Sydney next year.
“All I’m thinking of now is finishing well here, and playing well for Wigan,” Lima said.
“I want to leave on a good note. The fans have been great with me from day one, and I want to do the best for them, the best for my team-mates.
“I’m treating each game like it’s my last, playing each game at 100mph and doing the best I can.”
The Kiwi prop had one year left to run on his Wigan deal but asked for a release because his wife – and mother of his two young daughters – is homesick.
He’ll leave a gaping hole in the front row for 2013, although coach Wane was very sympathetic to his situation.
“Jeff’ll leave us, he obviously has his reasons and we’ll wish him well,” Wane acknowledged.
“But to me, I’m more excited about the fact it puts us under pressure to get Dom Crosby, Tom Spencer and the other Wigan lads ready.”
Lima is included in the first batch of five players named in the Exiles squad to face England.
Those players will get a chance to further enhance their reputations tomorrow after being named in Wane’s 19-man squad to travel to Headingley.
Wigan squad: S Tomkins, Charnley, Goulding, Carmont, Finch, Leuluai, McIlorum, O’Loughlin, Lima, Farrell, Lauaki, Dudson, Gelling, L Tomkins, Crosby, Hughes, Murphy, Spencer, Lloyd.