The 18th Man Column part I: Warriors will finish in third. I’m serious...
Wigan Warriors fans have their say
Huddersfield tomorrow – confident of victory?
Jeanette Lusher: Yes, I am confident of the Warriors bringing the spoils home.
It’s another tough call and another game away so never easy. The lads put in a good performance at Headingley especially when you consider the injuries to key personnel and the very short turnaround. I was very pleased with our attitude and determination.
The heads never went down even though our concentration levels, once again, wandered in the third quarter. The frustration of working really hard to build a sizeable lead to fritter it away is something that can’t happen at Huddersfield as the Giants won’t hesitate to capitalise on such sloppiness and misdemeanours.
The team and the coaching staff will assuredly have openly and honestly addressed all of these matters in their weekly review. The lads know that this game is a huge challenge and a must-win and they also know that they have to give a full 80 minute performance. As a supporter I can see that the team’s confidence and belief are certainly on the rise and that little by little they are improving with every game.
Robert Kenyon: Huddersfield got a good drubbing off Saints, they’ll be stinging after that and wanting to right some wrongs, we again scraped through a close win which wasn’t good to watch but we got the two points and I think we should have enough to do the same against Huddersfield. Whilst we have scraped a couple of wins we are still players short, two props in fact which need replacing ASAP otherwise even though we might sneak into the top five we won’t do anything unless we replace those two props.
Jon Lyon: Huddersfield’s form has picked up hugely over the last five weeks, culminating in the thrashing of Hull at Magic Weekend, so I was worried this would be the toughest of our five supposed winnable games in a row. I was very relieved to see them succumb to St Helens so easily last week, not even managing a try, which should give us plenty of encouragement.
While our attack is still hit and miss, our defensive effort these last few weeks has been exceptional as a whole, and with Hardaker and Greenwood hopefully available we’re starting to get some competition for places back. I would expect a close first half but Wigan to edge it in the end.
Darren Wrudd: Yes, I suppose I am. The team is coming through a real transformation in terms of structure and performance. This I think is due to the players finally getting on with Lam’s master plan. The lads are getting used to the new plays, the new calls and can finally concentrate on that tough Wigan mentality to grind out a win when things get tight.
This breeds a siege mentality full of confidence which can go a long way to winning any game and although we are some way off being that team to conquer all, it is a great base on which to build.
Sean Lawless: Wigan should win tomorrow, although the results have been there over the past few weeks, the performances have been somewhat lacking. Now is hopefully the time for Wigan to get the good performance and the result to continue their assault on the top five. We also owe Huddersfield one after that atrocious defeat to the Giants back in March.
There are 11 games before the play-offs – put a number on it; what position do you think Wigan will finish the regular season?
Jeanette Lusher: My thoughts and hopes are that we shall achieve fourth spot! Saints, Wolves and Hull will surely consolidate the top three places but Catalans and Castleford are certainly catchable.
Catalans seem to be in free fall at present and are very inconsistent.
Maybe the victory at Camp Nou was a season high that has been difficult for the team to come down from – all of the build up, all of the patriotism, all of the joy and all of the media hype!
Castleford’s squad has been somewhat stretched already this season due to injuries and squad rotation has been a luxury not afforded to Daryl Powell hence I feel that the toll of a long season is beginning to creep in.
Wigan, for me, are definitely on the rise. We have endured multiple long term injuries and dealt with much controversy off the field and have come through much stronger both mentally and physically. The misfortunes of the season, thus far, have highlighted the versatility and ability within the squad in particular with Dan Sarginson and Chris Hankinson.
We have uncovered absolute gems with youngsters the likes of Morgan Smithies and Ollie Partington.
The work rate of Sam Powell and Tommy Leuluai and the continued and exciting development of Joe Bullock have added such strength to our go forward and defence.
The return of Liam Farrell and Joe Burgess has given a huge lift to the team’s confidence levels and this can only get better with increasing match fitness. All of this plus the fact that we have seven home games in the remaining 11 fixtures are my reasons to be so cheerful and so positive!
Robert Kenyon: 5th and just. All the games are winnable, with the majority of games being at home we will have home advantage. We could sneak into the top five and mount a serious challenge but only if we gel and sign a couple of props. Props win pots and we are two short, we may as well try and get Mitch Clarke now from Cas as I don’t think he’s getting much game time, get him an another one, the other rumoured one being Corey Jensen from North Queensland Cowboys. If they’re supposedly coming next year but aren’t getting a game for their clubs now and we need props, it doesn’t take a genius to work it out, just a chequebook.
Jon Lyon: I’m going to channel my eternal optimist and say we will finish 4th. Of the teams above and around us, so many can win easily one week and lose heavily the next. I think the top three of Saints, Wire and Hull will finish in that order but Catalans have hit a woeful run of form, Castleford still have plenty of injury worries and Salford are just too inconsistent.
If we can keep players fit, and that’s a big if, then our defensive solidity should help us see off most of the teams closest to us, especially with so many home games to come, so, unlike Tony Clubb, I expect us to make it over the line.
Darren Wrudd: Oh my, we could all wish for 4th place and it is possible but unlikely, however 5th spot is on the cards. It would be a crying shame if last year’s champions were not in the mix to defend their title, but an upward graph of little improvements could see us surprise a few come the end of season!
Sean Lawless: I think Wigan will finish third, yes that’s right, third! At this moment in time, consistency isn’t something that is happening within the Super League table and Adrian Lam is slowly getting his side to get some results together. If Wigan can continue to improve their results and performances, a third place finish is not out of their grasp and with Hull and Catalans doing their best Jekyll and Hyde impression lately – it could be Wigan’s to take.