WRITE us off at your peril - that’s the message from Wigan scrum-half Matty Smith ahead of Thursday’s Super League play-off opener against league leaders Huddersfield Giants.
The Giants have done the double over Wigan this term and the Challegne Cup holders have stumbled into the play-offs having lost four straight Super League games.
But Smith is happy for people to underestimate the Warriors’ chances of reaching their sixth Super League Grand Final. “We don’t mind it (being written off),” said Smith.
“We came into pre-season and no one gave us a chance to win anything.
“We sat top of the league halfway through the year and we’ve just won the Challenge Cup so they can write us off all they want but we know what we can do.”
Despite Smith’s belief in the Warriors’ ability to earn their place in the title decider October 5, Wigan’s record against the teams around them this season is unforgiving.
Wigan have played Huddersfield, Warrington, Leeds and St Helens in nine of their Super League games this term but only have two wins and a draw to show for them.
Although Smith acknowledges the stats, he believes his team mates deserve their shot at becoming Super League champions for a third time.
“We’ll be going out on Thursday to win and progress,” he said.
“Apart from Leeds at the Etihad we haven’t beaten the top three but all that counts now are these play-offs.
“You have to beat the teams in front of you and if you do that you deserve to win it. In training we’ve been working on getting our own game just right, and if we do that we’ll do fine.“
St Helens-born Smith was named in the 2013 Super League DreamTeam along with Warriors team mates Sean O’Loughlin, Sam Tomkins and Josh Charnley.
The Dream Team comprises of 13 players who have stood out during the season and is voted for by a panel of journalists.
And with the Lance Todd trophy already on the sideboard to go with his latest accolade, he admits adding the Harry Sunderland Trophy for man of the match in the Grand Final would be nice.
But Smith won’t be fooled that it will take the accomplishment of a huge task to reach the final and he is more bothered about the team than individual accolades.
“To get to the Grand Final and win it would be an amazing thing to do,” Smith said.
“To get man of the match in both would be amazing but it’s a team sport and what the team does is most important.”
The 2013 Super League Dream Team: Sam Tomkins, Josh Charnley (both Wigan), Leroy Cudjoe (Huddersfield), Ben Crooks, Tom Lineham (both Hull FC), Danny Brough (Huddersfield), Matty Smith (Wigan), Jamie Peacock (Leeds), Shaun Lunt, Eorl Crabtree, Brett Ferres (all Huddersfield), Danny Kirmond (Wakefield), Sean O’Loughlin (Wigan).