The Liam Farrell Column: We can't afford below-par display

Tomorrow's derby would be a big game at any stage.

Thursday, 18th August 2016, 11:00 am
Liam Farrell on the Foot Golf course

Dead rubber, it would still be dead good!

But this one has a lot riding on it, which only serves to make it an even more intense derby than usual.

St Helens are the form team in the competition and if they win, they climb above us into third spot in the table.

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We still have ambitions to finish as high up the ladder as we can – we want to be climbing, not sliding – which is why it’s so important to win this derby.

For me personally, it’s going to be a special game because I’ve not played Saints yet this year.

I’ve played in a lot of these derbies and they just get better and better.

I think the way both squads are now, with us having a lot of Wigan lads involved and them having plenty of St Helens lads in their squad, only makes it more special.

All of those players have grown up with this derby rivalry. I remember playing junior games for St Pat’s, and every time we played Blackbrook it had an extra edge to it!

There will be no shortage of motivation for both sides, but we also need to play well.

Saints are doing the simple stuff really well and it’s working for them, it’s very effective.

They’ve got a squad working hard for each other and finding ways to win, they complete high with the ball and defend well, and that’s causing teams a lot of problems.

We know we need to make improvements on our performance at Castleford.

They have given themselves a chance of cracking into the top-four, and if Catalans get anywhere near the form they were showing earlier this year, it might make the fight for top-four spots really exciting.

I know some people are saying we should change the Super-8s structure because Widnes and Wakefield can’t make the play-offs, but I think it’s great as it is.

And I can’t remember the top-four being so close.

And, of course, Leigh’s win against Salford last weekend has really made the Qualifiers interesting.

Leigh are now in a great position to kick on and grab a Super League spot for next season, so there will be some very nervous sides.

Congratulations to Dan Bibby for winning silver with Team GB.

I don’t know him, but it’s great to see a Wiganer doing well at Rio!

I’ve been hooked on these Games, especially the cycling and athletics, and it’s great to see us doing so well.

What Jason Kenny has done has been really impressive.

I’m gutted for Dom Manfredi.

He suffered an ACL injury on Friday and faces a long spell on the sidelines.

Dom has been great for us this year - like he has since he came into the team - and he would surely have been in the reckoning for an England spot at the end of the year.

When he was younger, he had a really long time out of the game because of a knee injury, so at least he knows what to expect - and he knows there is light at the end of the tunnel. The lads will be supporting him all the way.

A few of the lads went playing Foot Golf after training on Monday.

It’s played like regular golf, except you kick footballs into much bigger holes.

It’s good fun, and our game was very competitive, but I’m not sure the standard was up to much!