Wigan Warriors a 'well-oiled machine', says Zak Hardaker
Zak Hardaker feels Wigan are a “well oiled machine” on course to finish the season with a Grand Final victory.
Adrian Lam’s outfit progressed to next Friday’s title-decider against St Helens with a 29-2 victory against Hull FC on Thursday night.
Centre Hardaker admits it was a surreal feeling to claim victory at a deserted DW Stadium – but has no doubts they are capable of adding the Super League title to their League Leaders’ Shield triumph.
He said: “I was really confident we could get to the final and now we’re there, I’m confident we can go one step further and win it.
“I feel like we’re a well oiled machine that is just ticking over. If something doesn’t go our way, we don’t panic. The intensity in training has lifted in the last few weeks and the confidence in the boys, if we’re down, we’re always confident we can get back in front if we stick to our structure.”
Wigan did that on Thursday night, weathering an early storm which saw FC edge 2-0 up to take a 13-2 lead into half-time and tighten their grip afterwards.
“It didn’t feel like a proper semi-final, I’ve been there before when there are fireworks, fans going crazy, players jumping up and down on each other – we can’t jump on each other anymore because you get fined,” smiled the England international.
“But everyone is delighted to get there.”
Hardaker thanked Hull FC’s players for forming a guard of honour for the Sean O’Loughlin after the game, and revealed the retiring skipper turned down the chance of crowning his final game at the DW Stadium with the last conversion.
“I tried to get him to take the two but he wouldn’t do it,” said the 29-year-old. “He turned it down – he might have been too embarrassed if he’d missed.”
This will be Lam’s first final as coach while there are a number of young players in the squad who have yet to experience a final.
Hardaker, who won three Grand Finals with former club Leeds, says consistency and continuity are key.
“The worst thing you can do is do anything different,” he said.
“You’ve got to try and treat it like a normal game. That’s what we did with the League Leaders, you could see a few were jittery at half-time and we went out in the second-half, kept our composure and started scoring tries.”