Business as usual, says Maguire

Michael Maguire and Sean O'Loughlin
Michael Maguire and Sean O'Loughlin

MICHAEL Maguire insists the Challenge Cup final is now but a distant memory as Warriors aim to tie up the League Leaders’ Shield at Warrington this weekend.

Wigan travel to the Halliwell Jones Stadium – scene of their quarter-final and semi-final victories in the cup – for their penultimate game of the regular season.

Victory would secure top spot heading into the play-offs for the second year in a row, although the Wolves will be well-rested after a fortnight off.

In contrast, Wigan have had Wembley to occupy their minds but, despite the euphoria of securing a first Challenge Cup for nine years, Maguire insists it’s business as usual from here on in. “Obviously to get yourself back up, ready to go after the weekend we’ve had is a big ask,” Maguire said.

“But that is part of the challenge of being a champion team and backing up.

“The group had pretty much moved on by Monday, and their focus was already on performing at Warrington.

“There’ll certainly be no excuses if we don’t turn up and play the way we’re capable of.”

Wigan could hardly be facing a tougher test, travelling to an in-form Warrington side still licking their wounds after being knocked out of the Challenge Cup on home soil last month.

“It’s a big, big game for us if we want to take out the League Leaders’ Shield,” Maguire acknowledged.

“We’ve actually had a good week this week – the long turnaround has helped us, and the players are looking pretty fresh in training.

“There were one or two sore heads when we returned to work on Monday – mine included – but we’re ready.

“We know there are some more big games hopefully to come, and we need to try and keep the momentum we’ve built up.”

Maguire will give Josh Charnley (finger) and Lee Mossop (shoulder) as long as possible to prove their fitness after playing through the pain barrier at Wembley.

“Josh came through his operation pretty well, and the bone’s been sorted out now,” explained Maguire (right).

“Lee will do a bit of contact work towards the end of the week, but we’re hopeful on both of them.

“Everybody else pulled up pretty well after the game and we’re raring to go.”

The Warriors coach, who will return to Australia with South Sydney at the end of the season, also refused to comment on reports Wigan have signed former Welsh RU international Gareth Thomas for next year.

“I wouldn’t have a clue about that,” he added.