Wane: When pressure's on, we've performed
Shaun Wane admits Wigan can use the Challenge Cup victory over Warrington as a '˜springboard' to kickstart their Grand Final charge.
Warriors have plenty of work to do if they are to retain their Super League crown, lying seven points off the top four with games fast running out.
But Wane believes last weekend’s 27-26 victory at the Halliwell Jones Stadium - plus the return of several injured stars - can act as a catalyst for a late assault on Old Trafford.
“We can definitely kick on now,” Wane acknowledged. “We’ve trained really well. We’ve been through footage, we’ve had intense training sessions.
“In the past, when the pressure has been on, we’ve performed.
“We’re not at that desperate point yet - but it’s important we get these wins.”
The eighth-placed Warriors can take a step up the ladder tonight when they travel to seventh-placed Huddersfield, who are ahead of them only on points difference.
But Wane stopped short of calling it ‘must-win’ for his men.
“They’re all important, and we need to concentrate on each and every one of them,” he explained.
“The fact is it would be a lot easier if we do. But we will get at the end of this period what we deserve.
“Huddersfield are above us in the competition, we’re up against it, we’ll not take this lightly.
“They’re a very good team...the next five games (before the Super-8s split) are crucial for us.”
With three wins on the bounce themselves, Huddersfield are also starting to show form at the right time.
“We’ve had some good results there in the past,” said Wane. “But they’re one of the form teams right now, which is just our luck.
“Huddersfield are flying, they throw a lot of shape at you.
“They’re playing with a lot more belief, they have some unquestionable talent.
“In a set, they’ll put a lot of plays on - more than anyone else, I’d say, in the competition.
“Without getting technical, it gives you a chance to get forward and put them under pressure.
“But they attack really well.
“We’ve watched a fair bit of footage on Huddersfield and we think we’ve got things we can test them with.”
And Wane points to the successful return last weekend of full-back and marquee player Sam Tomkins as reason for added optimism for the run-in.
“I said after the game, Sam gets the ball to where it needs to go,” added the Wigan coach.
“I know that sound a bit junior, but we play against numbers and it’s important he gets that.
“He’s such a competitor. It helps having him on the field.
“He’s also not afraid to have an opinion - he’s not shy, he’ll tell you straight and he takes it too.”