MIKE McIlorum has urged Wigan’s Class of ‘11 to make the most of their one crack at Wembley glory.
Warriors will face Leeds Rhinos in the Challenge Cup final on August 27, which will make for a perfect swansong for several of the first-team squad.
Ryan Hoffman has already announced he’ll be returning to Melbourne for 2012, while the likes of Andy Coley and Paul Deacon are expected to hang up their boots at the end of the season.
With coach Michael Maguire also off to pastures new – to take the reins at South Sydney Rabbitohs – McIlorum believes the team have an added incentive to see off the Rhinos and win the cup for the first time in nine years.
“Getting to the cup final means everything,” he told the Evening Post.
“We all spoke about it in the dressing room on Saturday and we can’t wait for the final now. This is the last time this group of players will have the chance to play at Wembley, with a few going at the end of the season, so we’ll be going all-out to win it for each other.”
McIlorum also admitted the semi-final victory over St Helens was as gruelling a match as Wigan have played all year.
“It was a tough opening – I think we only had the ball once in the first 10 minutes, and I thought that might take it out of us for the last 10 – but we held out,” he added.
“We had to dig deep but it was a great feeling at the end.
“We made hard work of it, especially in that second half, and I came on just as they scored that last try so I was determined they wouldn’t get another. The last 10 minutes seemed like an eternity, but we got there.”
l TODAY is the last chance for shareholders, season-ticket holders, lottery agents and Ancient & Loyal members to secure their spots for Wembley before tickets go on general sale tomorrow.
Telephone calls are being accepted at the ticket office today for the first time this week as well as personal callers to the DW Stadium.