Smith: Close wins will help us in big games

Matty Smith has helped Wigan to five wins in succession away from the DW
Matty Smith has helped Wigan to five wins in succession away from the DW

Matty Smith reckons their close scrapes will serve Wigan well in the pressure-cooker games.

The Warriors have won their last five successive matches away from the DW Stadium.

And four of those victories have been by seven points or less, with three featuring drop-goals by Smith.

And he says their last few games have helped battle-harden them for the business end of the season.

Wigan face Castleford in a sudden-death Challenge Cup quarter-final this Saturday.

And the England No.7 said: “Some of our wins have been close but I think they’ll help us. We’re going to get games at the end of the year and in the Cup that are not walkaways, and you need to grind them out.

“We’ve done that in the last few weeks.”

The most recent of those victories was by 7-0 at Widnes last Thursday night.

Wigan were far from at their best but given the absent personnel - they were missing nine England internationals, plus Anthony Gelling - it was a gutsy effort.

“It wasn’t one for the spectators but we toughed it out, and grinded another one out,” said Smith.

“It was pleasing to get the two points because we want to keep the pressure on Hull.”

Lee Radford’s Hull FC moved two points clear at the top yesterday with a 24-22 victory at Castleford, with Wigan in second and Catalans and Warrington both trailing by a further two points.

The league takes a break this weekend for the Cup matches, including Wigan’s first match at the DW Stadium in a month following annual pitch maintenance.

And Smith added: “Confidence is high, we’ve got a few players back and we’ll be playing in front of our own fans.

“Playing on big pitch like the DW - it complements how we play.

“We’ve been disappointing in this Cup competition in the last two years and we want to put it right, and it starts this week.

“When we won it in 2013, and for me personally winning the Lance Todd, it was a dream come true and we all want that again. But we also know Cas are a quality side, they throw the ball around and ask questions of our defence.”

Shaun Wane will be hoping to welcome back Tomkins brothers Joel and Sam.