NOTHING comes close to beating St Helens – according to Josh Charnley.
The jet-heeled winger edged towards peak form with four first-half tries against Widnes on Saturday as the Warriors revved-up for tomorrow’s blockbuster in style. And with a capacity crowd expected, clearly it isn’t just Charnley who shares the same passion.
“It’s always big – everyone gets pumped for it and takes it to heart. There’s no other feeling,” said Charnley.
“Everyone’s more pumped for it because it’s for bragging rights. If you lose you take it to heart, but to win is a massive honour.”
The traditional Easter fixture has been dominated in recent times by Wigan, who had the honour of winning the last derby at Knowsley Road in 2010 and the first at Langtree Park last year.
Sandwiched in between was Wigan’s adrenaline-fueled 28-24 win at the DW Stadium in 2011, when Liam Farrell snatched the game with ‘that’ try in the dying seconds.
Charnley expects tomorrow’s clash to be just as thrilling.
“I’m really looking forward to it,” he added. “I was pretty disappointed with my performance at Leeds, so to get four tries against Widnes was a good way of showing it. I had a good chat with the coaching staff, and a look at what went right and wrong.”
On a personal level, Charnley will be up against Francis Meli – and the England star admits it will take a special performance to get the better of his imposing opposite number.
“Especially when you’re coming up against an experienced winger like Meli,” Charnley acknowledged.
“I’m looking forward to the challenge and hopefully I can do well.
“He’s a big powerful bloke so I will have to make the right movements at the right time to get round him.”
Tomorrow’s game will undoubtedly see Wane’s troops take physical punishment and, with a daunting trip to Hull KR on Easter Monday, preparation is key.
But Charnley has every confidence the Warriors will be able to back up.
“Everyone is going to be tired but we have the best back room staff here so I think we’ll be all right,” he recognised.
WARRIORS confirmed yesterday that the Good Friday clash with St Helens is a sell-out.
Sky Sports will screen the game live, kick-off at the DW Stadium is 12.15pm.