'˜Super 8s will go right down to the wire,' says Winder
Warriors assistant John Winder thinks this year's Super 8s will be the closest yet.
Wigan travel to Leeds tomorrow looking for their first win at Headingley since a 50-8 success in June 2012, which would help them chip into the points needed for a play-off place.
Despite starting the race to the top four from seventh, the gap Wigan must make up on fourth-placed Salford is only three points, and with 14 available Winder thinks it will be a long time before the play-off battle is settled.
“I have a sneaky feeling this is going to go down to the wire because there are that many teams close together,” he said.
“If you are someone who watches the table and you watch it fixture by fixture it’s a massive change. If results go your way you can be two or three positions higher than when you started the week. I think every game from now ‘til the end will be important.”
With leaders Castleford taking on sixth-placed St Helens tonight, Warriors will know by kick-off time tomorrow if they can draw level on points with Saints with a win.
And with all the sides from fourth to eighth in striking distance of the top four, Winder is predicting a tense opening few weeks to the Super 8s.
“History tells you the first three or four usually shape it up,” he explained.
“I’m not sure that will be the case. If you look at the fixtures this weekend, every team playing each other is capable of winning so I think it will be interesting all the way down to the wire.”
But despite predicting a close race, Winder won’t be worrying about how Wigan’s rivals fare in the final straight.
With Wigan picking up points in four of their last five Super League games, he insists the champions are only concerned with their own form, and are treating each week as ‘do or die.’
“We’ve talked about it being that nature and us wanting to perform every week,” he said.
“The challenge is there are seven games to go and we want to win seven.
“If we do that we put ourselves in the best possible chance of even maybe scraping second place. You just don’t know in terms of the way results have been going.”
“You look at the bank of fixtures and you can quite conceivably see each team winning each fixture.
“You just don’t know where you are going to end up but what you can control is what you do.”
But Wigan have reached Grand Finals from lower down the pecking order before, and Winder says that experience will be useful.
“Ultimately we will treat each game like it is a do or die and we need to get two points in every one,” he said,
“When you’ve lived and experienced something it will give you confidence you can do it again because you’ve done it before.
“If we end the campaign with 14 points we’ll be comfortably in the four and in a good position to push on for that Grand Final.”