Bateman: Rivals know we're coming
John Bateman says Warriors will be '˜getting on with' their task to reach the play-offs and let their rivals look over their shoulders.
In recent history, Shaun Wane’s men have enjoyed late-season surges and reached the past four Grand Final in a row.
And after starting the Super 8s in seventh place, a win at Hull tonight will lift them into third after Saints’ last-gasp win over Wakefield last night.
On whether Warriors draw confidence from their experience in overcoming their play-off rivals at this time of year Bateman said: “Definitely. More so in other people’s minds – they know full well we’ll be there or thereabouts.
“I know Galey from Cas (Luke Gale), and I was speaking to him a few weeks ago and he was, ‘Do you think you’ll make it?’, then on Monday at the England meeting he was, ‘We think we might play you (in the semis).’
“It’s them knowing that we’ll be coming, for teams to be looking over their shoulders.
“Because, a few people wrote us off. We’ll take it one week at a time and get on with it.”
Bateman, who made his 100th Wigan appearance in last Friday’s 26-16 win at St Helens, says their performance that night, which included two Oliver Gildart tries in the opening six minutes, was an ideal warning shot going into tonight’s clash at the KCOM Stadium.
“I think last Friday was a statement out there,” he explained.
“Look at Saints – they’d won at Cas, they had Ben Barba coming into the side, people were saying they had one of the best defences in the league and we scored two tries in six minutes.
“It let people know we’re not messing about. Saints was a really good result.
“I had a good feeling – there was a lot of hurt and anger from Wembley – and I felt we’d get a performance.”
Now Warriors must turn their attention to trying to snatch their first win against Hull FC this season.
Bateman admits revenge for last month’s Challenge Cup final loss against the Airlie Birds will be a factor, but insisted what the result does to the Super League table, and Wigan’s chances of reaching the Old Trafford Grand Final, is a bigger motivator.
“Hull took something off us that we wanted,” he said.
“It’s a massive trophy we wanted, so we do want payback. But the big picture, we can’t do anything about the Challenge Cup, it’s all about the two points.”
On making sure Wigan leave with much-needed points, Bateman admits the kicking of Hull’s Marc Sneyd, which was a big factor at Wembley, will be something Warriors need to focus on.
But the England ace also warned Sneyd is not Hull coach Lee Radford’s only weapon.
“Sneyd put us to the sword with his kicks. It’s not just about him,” he said. “But he’s a big part, he’s consistent with what he does and it’s hard shutting him down – but it’s something we need to do.”
Wigan have their own strike force in captain Sean O’Loughlin though, who Batemen said was at his best since he arrived at the club.
“You can sense whether he is playing or not. Lockers was probably the best he’s been when I’ve been in the team,” he said. “He can do everything.”