The Liam Farrell Column: This derby is sudden-death

From one must-win big game, to another.

Thursday, 31st August 2017, 3:36 pm
Updated Monday, 11th September 2017, 12:33 pm
Willie Isa in action at Wembley

I don’t think I’ve ever been involved in a do-or-die game to get into the play-offs.

But whoever loses on Friday will probably be out of shot of a top-four finish, so we’re treating our game at St Helens as sudden-death.

Fixtures with St Helens are important when there’s nothing but pride up for grabs, so this is massive.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Our last game there was a high-intense affair, and this time there’s a lot more at stake, so I’m expecting it to be even tougher.

Are we down after Wembley? Yes.

It’s been a strange one to wrap your head around.

I’ve lost Grand Finals before, but this is different – you don’t have time to kick stones.

We’ve reviewed the Challenge Cup Final, and I echo what I said after the match – Hull were the better team.

I feel a sense frustration we sold ourselves short at times – we didn’t throw enough at Hull – but also encouraged that we were still very close to winning it.

Earlier in the week, I found myself replaying the match in my head, thinking: ‘What if this happened, what if that happened..’.

But that didn’t last long, there’s obviously nothing we can do about it now, and the only way we can pick ourselves up is by getting the win on Friday.

If we get two points there, it will change the complexion a bit, and get everyone excited about the challenge of cracking into the top-four.

Right now, we control everything. If we win our next four games, we’re in the play-offs.

And if we get two points against Saints, we’ll be in a position which didn’t look likely a few weeks ago.

As much as players were down in training on Tuesday, there was real enthusiasm in the session – they channelled the frustration in the right way. Which is why I’m confident there’ll be no side-effects from Wembley, and we’ll be ready for it.

One thing’s for sure – Saints will be.

They won at Castleford recently, something no other team has done this year, and the addition of Ben Barba gives their team other options – Jonny Lomax may move to the halves.

Barba’s debut will obviously be a main talking point going into the game.

But players like him, Matty Smith and Lomax won’t have the same effect if Alex Walmsley doesn’t do his job, James Roby doesn’t get them on the front-foot, the outside backs don’t do their jobs – so everyone in our team has a big role to play.