PAT Richards has called on Wigan to finish off the regular season with a bang on Friday night against arch-rivals St Helens.
Warriors will collect the League Leaders Shield after the game, after their dramatic come-from-behind victory at Hull KR last weekend.
But Richards is anxious to ensure Wigan won’t be putting the cue back in the rack too soon – so they can head into the play-offs with a spring in their steps.
“This is the business end of the season, and the derby is a massive game because the play-offs are around the corner,” Richards acknowledged.
“There’s no better way to go into the play-offs than a game against St Helens.”
The clash at Craven Park was Richards’ second since returning from a knee problem.
But the Australian’s picked up where left off with a couple of solid showings and, even more importantly, a reliability with the boot that Wigan lacked in his absence.
And Richards is delighted to be back in the fold at just the right time of the campaign.
“We have a great squad and the boys can take a lot of pride from winning the League Leaders Shield with a game to go, as well as the coaching staff,” he added.
“The way we battled back against Hull KR, I think we can draw from that in the play-offs – a game is never over.
“We weren’t happy with how we went against Hull KR, but the comeback was good.
“It could have blown out, but we stuck to our guns.
“We didn’t have the ball in the first-half and we got into our structures, the boys dug deep and played as a unit.”
Coach Shaun Wane yesterday named his 19-man squad, with Stuart Fielden and Gil Dudson included, as expected, after long-term injury.
Wigan squad: George Carmont, Josh Charnley, Gil Dudson, Liam Farrell, Stuart Fielden, Brett Finch, Ben Flower, Darrell Goulding, Harrison Hansen, Gareth Hock, Jack Hughes, Thomas Leuluai, Jeff Lima, Michael McIlorum, Lee Mossop, Sean O’Loughlin, Pat Richards, Matty Smith, Sam Tomkins.