Former Wigan Warriors and St Helens forward Mark Flanagan previews the Super League play-offs and makes his predictions
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Flanagan states everyone will be competing with the same intensity, and execution will prove key.
He said: “It’s the carrot at the end of the stick. I always remember there being an extra spring in the step of everyone in training when the regular season ends because it’s a bit more exciting as there’s something more tangible to play for.
“In September, the leaves start falling, the temperature drops, and it just feels a little bit different.
“All your injuries and your aches and pains just disappear and you are ready to go again.
“There’s more on the line in these games, so you’re a bit more desperate and there’s more will to win.
“Everyone competes hard, and it’s down to whoever executes the play better.
“The week off being a benefit depends on how you are going. If you’re on red hot fire then you want to keep on playing, we’ve seen it a few times where teams play every week and are just unstoppable.
“Meanwhile, if you’re in and out of form, but you’ve been good all season, then you might need a bit of a rest and to look at a few things in training.”
Flanagan believes Wigan’s recent injury losses could have a big impact on their Super League chances this season.
“I’ve read Liam Farrell is out for the season, I’m not sure about Cade Cust, so they are two big losses if they aren’t available,” he added.
“It will probably reduce Wigan’s chances quite a bit. I did fancy them up until these injuries, but I’m not sure now.
“Saints’ big game experience might come good, but even they have had a few injuries.
“I saw Alex Walmsley walking round in one of the big boots at the play-off launch, so it’s about who can manage the bodies and get people on the park.
“I'm still going to go for Saints to win, but any of the six could do it.”