MATTY Smith is hoping their home comforts help Wigan get off to a flying start tomorrow night.
Shaun Wane’s Warriors host Catalans looking to stretch their unbeaten Super League run at the DW Stadium into a third calendar year.
We’ve got to perform consistently. We nearly won the league leaders’ shield with terrible away form last yearMatty Smith
Their last defeat in the competition came in summer 2014 and Smith is hoping the venue remains a fortress for them.
“We do play well at home in front of our crowd,” he said.
“The fans were fantastic last year. I only realised with about two games to go last year we’d gone unbeaten at home.
“We had great form and look to keep that. I think some teams are beaten before they step onto the DW pitch.
“For me, when I played for other sides, and playing in Wigan’s backyard, you know it’s going to be tough.
“But as a Wigan player it’s great playing in front of them every other week, and you do probably lift your game.”
Wigan’s only defeat at the DW in the last 18 months was by 14-12 against Brisbane in the World Club Series 12 months ago – and that was a draw after 80 minutes.
Having lost out on the league leaders’ shield on points difference last year, Smith says their challenge for 2016 is to thread some consistency through their performances.
“Our away form wasn’t good enough, especially early doors,” the England No.7 said.
“We’ve got to perform consistently. We nearly won the league leaders’ shield with terrible away form last year.
“If we pick that up a bit, there’s no reason why we can’t finish top of the ladder.”
Smith, who tied the knot to long-term partner Jen last month, believes tomorrow’s opponents have the talent to mix-up the race for play-offs positions this year - especially with a familiar face back in their ranks.
“Pat Richards is a legend of the club,” added the 28-year-old. “You look at what he did for Wigan, he won trophies, won the Man of Steel, kicked a hell of a lot of goals.. he was great and I’m looking forward to seeing him again.
“I’m sure he’ll get a great reception.”