Wigan Warriors need to send out message to rest of Super League, admits Dan Sarginson
Dan Sarginson admits the pressure is on Wigan when they head to the capital tomorrow.
A run of one win from their first four matches has been compounded by the fact they remain on zero points, following a salary cap penalty on the eve of the new season.
And while Warriors could take heart from gutsy losses to St Helens and Sydney Roosters, their limp display in a 23-22 golden point loss to Hull FC has convinced Sarginson they have a huge point to make against London Broncos.
"We've definitely got a point to prove, to send a message to the rest of Super League that we're not just a side playing well at times and losing games," he said.
"When you look at it from a real negative point of view, we've only won one game all season.
"Considering in patches how well we've played, if we can string that together we'll blow some teams away.
"It's pretty frustrating."
Tomorrow's game will be much more than a chance to prove a point for Sarginson.
It is a chance, too, to reflect on his own journey into the professional ranks through London Broncos - then Harlequins RL - as a Hemel Hempstead teenager with little knowledge of the sport.
"I never dreamed of playing for Wigan or England or even becoming a pro' player," he said.
"I was just playing week by week, enjoying it, and then something would come up and I'd pinch myself, like 'I'm playing first team this week'.
"Every step was a bit surreal.
"I remember being at my prom when I got the call to say I was in the squad to make my debut - I stopped drinking and was on water for the rest of the night!"
Sarginson remembers a lot from his debut but two things stand out. Firstly, that he played in the halves but defended at full-back "because I was a little livewire then, and couldn't really defend."
And the other? That he didn't know who any of his opponents were!
"Honestly, I played against Salford and didn't know anyone," he said. "I didn't have Sky Sports growing up - my nan would get a couple of channels, we'd go there and watch WWE or football, but I'd never seen a rugby league game in my life.
"Even when I was in the Under-21s with Quins, I was just enjoying it, I was doing my A levels (he got an A in his favourite subject, maths) but I didn't watch first-team. I never planned for a career in this sport, I didn't think it would take off.
"I've got a lot to be grateful to them for because without London, or Quins as they were at the time, i do wonder what I'd be doing now.
"I was pleased to see them get back up into Super League."
Broncos coach Danny Ward, a former team-mate of Sarginson, has kept faith with the bulk of the squad which earned the capital club promotion from the top-flight - including some players who, like Sarginson, have progressed through the ranks at the club.
"There is so much raw talent there. I mean, unbelievable talent," he said. "The lads here at Wigan who grew up playing against some of their boys, they can't believe how big or fast some of their players are.
"It's good for the international game, to increase the talent pool."