Warriors v Vikings: Burke confident of taking victory

Sam Rapira is held by  Sean O'Loughlin and Greg Burke
Sam Rapira is held by Sean O'Loughlin and Greg Burke

AFTER 25 domestic games at the DW Stadium without a defeat, many may think Wigan players are gaining strength from playing at home.

But Greg Burke says playing at the venue doesn’t boost his confidence - as much as it has an effect on their opponents.

With visiting teams well aware of the Warriors’ proud home run, he thinks they are being given mental challenges for the game has kicked off.

“I’ve felt confident playing anywhere this year, home or away,” he said. “We’ve turned up to games thinking, ‘If we’re on our game today we can win’.

“It’s not that we feel any more confident playing at the DW.

“I think it could be something for the teams coming here. It’s the same thing at Hull KR, people hated playing there. Castleford away, a lot of teams get it in their head before they get there – and I think that’s the same for teams coming here now.”

Wigan’s only home defeats since the summer of 2014 have been at the hands of Brisbane Broncos, who are level at the top of the NRL ladder.

Tonight, the Warriors face another side riding high at the top of the table - Super League surprise packets Widnes.

Denis Betts’ Vikings are level with the Warriors and Warrington at the summit, with five wins from their opening six games.

While some may be dismissive of their strong start, they have racked up 102 points in games against Leeds and Hull FC, as well as enjoying comfortable victories over Huddersfield, Hull KR and Wakefield.

“I watched them against Hull FC last week and they’re a really strong attacking team, and playing well,” said Burke.

“They’ve got the best attack in the comp’ and we’ve got the best defence, so lets see which wins out.

“But they’re a great team and they’ve started like a house of fire.

“Last year they were in middle 8s (The Qualifiers) and you don’t expect a team to come from there but all credit to them, they’ve worked hard and it’s paid off for them.

“Kevin Brown has done some good stuff already, Corey Thompson is scoring a ridiculous amount of tries - and Stef Marsh on the other wing - and they’re definitely a threat. We’ve got to be on our mettle, this is going to be a really big test.”

Burke returned from a loan spell at Hull KR in the winter and has muscled his way into the matchday squad - no small feat in itself.

“When I came back, I knew there was a lot of competition for places,” said the 23-year-old, who debuted in the double-winning 2013 campaign.

“I worked really hard in the pre-season and tried my best to impress.

“I’ve been happy with my start, I feel I’ve done a good job in the middle.”