Ollie Partington warns Wigan Warriors’ mindset has to be right against Wakefield Trinity
Academy-graduate Ollie Partington expects Wakefield to target Wigan’s young pack with heavy traffic in tonight’s Super League encounter.
With Adrian Lam missing several front-line forwards - and with the Warriors leaky down the middle at Castleford a week ago - Partington is braced for a bombardment.
But the 20-year-old, set to start at loose-forward in Sean O’Loughlin’s absence, has predicted a different performance in West Yorkshire.
“If they watch the Cas’ game they’ll definitely come down our middle, with their big blokes like David Fifita and Pauli Pauli,” said Partington.
“We’ve got injuries and they’ll under-estimate us, I think.
“But it may work in our favour – Catalans under-estimated us and we served it up to them.
“The middles we’ve got won’t shy away from them.”
Giant forward Fifita is joint-third in the voting for the Steve Prescott Man of Steel award.
And Partington expects him and his team-mates to sense an opportunity from last week’s collapse.
The Warriors led 24-8 at half-time but conceded three tries to turn the tide, and the Tigers pack frequently chewed-up ground.
While Adrian Lam said he was proud of the efforts of his young players after the 38-28 loss - and Partington led the way with 51 tackles - the player himself said they made “unacceptable” errors.
“Some of their easy tries... I don’t think you’ll see those again,” said Partington, who debuted last year.
“Everyone was in doing extra wrestling in training, because it’s not Wigan that, and it never will be. To let one in like that, but four or five, that’s not us.
“We’ve taken a step back and seen the bigger picture, because that was not acceptable.
“It’s a mindset, you’ve got to go up and at them, because our middles are the fittest in the comp’ when we’re on. “
Partington was proudly wearing his Liverpool replica shirt after training in mid-week.
George Williams is also a big Reds fan while Oliver Gildart (Man United) and Sam Powell (Man City) also took a keen interest in the Champions League games.
“The lads are always giving each other banter about it,” added Partington.
“John Bateman’s left but he’s still at it... I don’t know why he’s a United fan when he’s from Bradford. It’s not even close.”