Wane: Players want to prove critics wrong
Shaun Wane's Warriors are feeding off the criticism as they charge towards a fourth straight Grand Final.
Wigan have come under fire this season, from fans and commentators, for their stuttering attacks.
But they went someway to silencing the doubters in their last outing, a stunning 35-28 victory at Warrington.
Their performance had the ingredients which have helped them climb into the top-three - character and defensive resolve.
But it was their ability to score four tries in 20 minutes, while reduced to 12-men, which really caught the eye.
Wane said: “The players are not daft.
“They know what’s been said and they want to prove people wrong.”
Wigan have marketed this game as the Big One 6, and have lined up a bumper entertainment bill for crowd expected to be 14,000-plus.
Interest in this match has grown following Wigan’s win at the HJ.
A win would guarantee them a second-placed finish in the table – and a home semi-final the following week - while defeat will see them drop to fourth, if St Helens overcome Wakefield, and consequently have to travel to the league leaders.
Hull FC and Warrington meet in front of the Sky Sports cameras tonight to fight for the shield.
Wane said: “It’s great that we do the Big One concept and we’ll have our families there.
“We love playing in front of a good atmosphere, and it should be a great night.
“But our focus will remain on the game.
“We’ll not be underestimating Catalans, but if we keep the mentality we’ve had in the last two weeks, we’ll give ourselves a good chance of winning the game.”
Catalans were just two points off a top-four spot when the season split for the Super 8s.
But after just two wins from six, they’ve dropped out of the picture.
Their last defeat was at home to Castleford last Saturday, going down 34-28.
“But I look at the back end of the Cas game and they played well,” said Wane. “If I was Laurent (Frayssinous) I’d want them to finish the season well. They won’t lie down. They’ll not want to make ti a celebratory day for us.”
The coach has guided Warriors to the last three Old Trafford showcase deciders, and he hailed the team-spirit of his ‘class of 2016’ better than ever.
Wane said: “I’ve never known the spirit here to be as tight. It’s never-say-die, the desire and character they have is fantastic.
“There’s a real togetherness. If you saw our video meetings, they’re very honest, everything is to the point – there’s a reason to do everything, and they all buy into it.
“We know what we need to do – win the next three games. Ugly, nice, we just need to win.”
Wigan, who will wear a special heritage shirt tonight, announced yesterday main shirt sponsor 188Bet has signed a contract extension to the end of 2017.