Smith: No credit due yet for Warriors

Wigan's Matty Smith scores a try against Hull FC at the DW Stadium
Wigan's Matty Smith scores a try against Hull FC at the DW Stadium

Despite insisting Warriors have had a ‘pretty good year’ so far, the Wigan scrum-half says they can’t take any credit yet.

A disappointing exit of the Challenge Cup at the quarter-final stage coupled with some below-par performances in Super League, most recently an away loss to Bradford and a draw at Hull KR, means Warriors need to rely on other results going their way if they are to secure the League Leaders’ Shield.

But with a host of long-term absentees back in the squad, including Michael McIlorum and Iain Thornley who have been named in Shaun Wane’s initial squad to face Widnes tomorrow, Smith is confident the champions have the resources to successfully defend their Super League title.

“We know we can perform in the big games, we have a full-strength squad to pick from,” he told the Evening Post.

“We’ve had a pretty good year, we’ve been disappointing in the Cup against Cas and we’ve had a couple poor performances in the league.

“But we’ve had a lot of injuries and generally we’ve played well.”

Warriors travel to Widnes tomorrow with Shaun Wane having named a strong 19 to take on the Vikings, going against trends of recent years when depleted sides have taken to the artificial surface at Widnes.

And the four teams below separated only by points difference, if Wigan are to hold on to a place in the top two and even challenge for a top-placed finish, winning is the only option for them.

“These three games are massive,” admitted Smith.

“We want to win the League Leaders’ and we know we’ll need St Helens to slip-up.”

But Smith knows it isn’t just Wigan under pressure to keep winning as sides battle for a finish in the top four and a second crack of the whip should they slip-up in the first week of the play-offs.

Leeds, Warrington, Castleford and Huddersfield are all locked together on 32 points from their 24 league games, with Warriors a point better off in second place.

And Smith knows each club will be treating the closing weeks of the regular season as vital play-off preparation.

“Other teams are feeling the pressure. A lot of the games are top-six teams playing each other and it’s set up for a fantastic finish,” he said.

“I don’t think you deserve credit if you don’t win anything and we haven’t won anything.

“We got knocked out of the Cup and we’re second in the ladder. But we need St Helens to slip up, if we don’t win the league leaders we won’t get down about it.

“But to get good credit you need to win trophies. We’ll be pushing hard to do that.”

Tomorrow’s game is also the annual State of Mind round, which aims to help players and fans become more aware of their mental wellbeing.

“State of Mind are doing a great job,” added Smith.

“Some players don’t know how to help or where to go to, whether it’s family, drink, gambling, whatever it is. Just having someone 
there is massive for our sport.”