Wigan Warriors: Kai Pearce-Paul discusses Matty Peet's positive impact and how the senior players inspire the team
Kai Pearce-Paul hopes the Wigan Warriors squad can give Thomas Leuluai the “perfect” ending to his playing career.
Matty Peet’s side welcome Leeds Rhinos to the DW Stadium on Friday night in the first semi-final of the Super League play-offs.
Pearce-Paul states there is a good mood around the camp, as they look to book their place in the Grand Final at Old Trafford.
He said: “I’m very excited, it’s the furthest I’ve ever got so I just can’t wait to get out there.
“We got knocked out against Leeds last year which adds even more excitement to this game.
“Matty (Peet) has come in as head coach this season and been really focused on the culture around the club.
“The feel around the camp has been good. We’re a lot more together, and I think the fans can feel that as well. I think that’s had a positive impact on how we’ve conducted ourselves and our performances.
“For me personally there’s a lot of excitement. We know the next game will be a tough match, but we will do our best to get the win.
“This week we’ve focussed on our own performance, and how we can be at our best.
“We do have quite a few young boys in our squad, but it’s always a pleasure to play alongside people like Tommy (Leuluai), Sam Powell and Willie Isa because they have that leadership role in the team.
“When you’ve got players like them, it does help the team and it is inspirational, they add to your drive because you want to do well for them.
“Tommy is an absolute player. He’s had a fantastic career, so you want to play as much as you can with him, especially with it being his last season, he’s so respected at the club.
“You just want to get that win, but have fun while doing it as well.
“It’d be the perfect story for us to have won the Challenge Cup, and get the Grand Final as well.
“To do it alongside someone like Tommy would be amazing, it’d be the perfect way to end his journey.”
Pearce-Paul has attracted some interest from the NRL with his strong performances this year, but says he is fully focused on playing his best rugby and blocks out any rumours.
“It’s been a good season so far,” he added.
“With every game that goes by, I start looking at my next goal.
“I sort of block out anything else, because I just want to focus on getting this season done and playing the best I can, building game by game, not looking too far into the future.
“As much as there are other things going on, the main thing for me is getting myself prepared for the next match and playing the best I can.
“Matty (Peet) has built something very strong, and I’m sure next year we will continue to compete at a very high level, but as a team we are just focusing on the present moment.
“All focus is on this season, and completing it the best we can, but we have got a very strong foundation.”