MATTY Smith reckons Wigan are well-equipped to prise St Helens from top-spot – because they are fitter than his old club.
Second-placed Warriors will nudge ahead of Saints into first position in the table – for 24 hours at least – if they win at Hull KR tonight.
And with Blake Green back in the frame and Joel Tomkins expected to gain more game-time, they appear in good health for a late-season surge.
Smith says they have put a huge emphasis on finishing the campaign as league leaders and reckons their superior fitness gives them the edge on their rivals.
The former Saints and Salford halfback said: “I don’t think anyone trains harder than what we do, certainly the clubs I’ve been at before. There is no other team I’ve been at that train harder than we do so I think we deserve it as players.
“I think we have a great squad and on our day we can beat anyone, so we have a great chance to do it – and a fully fit squad as well.”
Wigan have not played for two weeks – owing to the Challenge Cup semi-finals –but used their break wisely, including a gruelling session at an Mixed Martial Arts gym.
“It would have been easier for us to have a few days off during the break but we’ve trained hard and I can imagine the teams that are not in the Cup having time off,” said the goal-kicking No.7.
“We do train hard and it’s things like that which gets us trophies. There are no hiding places at the club – everyone is honest and if we have a bad game everyone stands up and is honest with each other.”
Having missed out on the chance to return to Wembley, Smith has trained his sights on a different ‘double’. While he accepts the league leaders’ shield – which Wigan clinched in 2012 – doesn’t carry the same significance as the main trophies, he says it is a big goal for the squad.
He said: “I think it’s great to finish top. Obviously it’s not the be all and end all. Last year Huddersfield won it and got knocked-out in the play-offs but for us, but we got knocked out the cup, we have not got that to focus on at the minute so our main focus is finishing first and getting the Shield. We really want to do that as a club.
“If we get the League Leaders’ Shield and the Super League then that’s a good year for us and a successful year.”
He added: “It’s in Saints’ hands at the moment, they have to slip-up for us to win it but they are struggling with injuries themselves at the minute so we’ll just keep concentrating on ourselves, starting with a massive game against Hull KR.”
The Robins are three points adrift from the top-eight.