‘Step in the right direction’ for Powell ahead of 8s

Sam Powell
Sam Powell

Sam Powell has vowed Wigan will be ‘raring to go’ against Salford on Sunday as they bid to reach a third Challenge Cup final in seven seasons.

The hooker rotated with Michael McIlorum in last Friday’s 34-0 win over Leeds, the last game before the season splits into the Super 8s.

I’ve been down there as 18th man and I’ve witnessed what it feels like on the way home after a victory down there

Sam Powell

But before then Warriors take on the fourth-placed Red Devils for a place at Wembley when the sides meet at Warrington’s HJ Stadium on Sunday for their BBC televised encounter.

“What a weekend it will be if we manage to beat Salford. It will be the first time I will have played at Wembley and I can’t wait for it,” said Powell, who was 18th man for Wigan’s 2013 Wembley win over Hull FC.

“We will be up for it and raring to go.

“I’ve been down there as 18th man and I’ve witnessed what it feels like on the way home after a victory down there.

“It is a special week and one everyone will want to be part of.”

Last Friday’s win helped Wigan narrow the gap between them and the top four play-off spots to just three points with 14 left to play 
for.

And following the previous week’s loss to Warrington, a result of a disappointing performance, Powell says the manner of the win over Leeds was a timely tonic.

“This week we had a tough week’s training and we needed it. The review wasn’t pretty from last weekend and we put the hard work in,” he explained.

“We’ve got a big turnaround and I’m sure it will be similar to what we had last week.

“The first few days will be really tough and then we’ll back off a bit to keep fresh.

“(Shaun Wane) just needs to make sure we’re in the right frame of mind. He’ll put an emphasis on that it’s knock-out rugby. There’s no second chances.”

Salford haven’t reached the last four of the Challenge Cup since 1998, when they were beaten by Sheffiled on the last hurdle to Wembley in a year which Wigan beat London Broncos in the last four.

And tomorrow Wigan will find out the order of their Super 8s fixtures.

Warriors already know they will face St Helens, Wakefield, Hull FC and Leeds away while they will host leaders Castleford, Salford and Huddersfield.

“We probably need to go on and win most games now if not all of them so it was a step in the right direction and one we need to build on,” Powell said.