DARRELL Goulding reckons Wigan are entering a “defining” stage of the season.
Their Challenge Cup quarter-final showdown against St Helens on Saturday is followed by a daunting block of Super League fixtures.
Warriors tackle four of their potential title challengers – Huddersfield, Saints again, Leeds and Catalans – on back-to-back weekends.
And centre Goulding – who has been in outstanding form this season – believes these next five matches could shape their year.
He said: “We have some really tough games coming up, starting with Saints.
“We look at this period as probably being a defining part of the season.
“You look at these fixtures, and every week it’s like a top-of-the-table clash.
“If we go well and pick up the victories, we’ll be in the Challenge Cup semi-finals and doing well in the league.
But if we struggle, we could taper off.
“They’re all top teams – people say the Easter period is hard, but this will be harder.
“So it’s a big challenge for us – but one we’re definitely up to.”
Friday night’s 36-22 victory over Hull KR stretched Wigan’s winning run to seven matches in both competitions.
And with Huddersfield going down to Catalans the following day, they have kept hold of their spot on top of Super League on points difference. Josh Charnley is also leading the way for personal accolades, having stretched his lead on the try-scoring charts to 16 with a hat-trick against the Robins – the club for whom he made his Super League debut during a loan stint in 2010.
Goulding grinned: “Josh has got so much pace, my job’s easy – I just give him the ball!”
On the other wing, Anthony Gelling proved a capable deputy for the injured Pat Richards with an enthusiastic, two-try outing.
“Because he’s come from overseas, some people maybe thought he’d come in and be a world-beater, and forgot that he’s only young,” added Goulding.
“All the lads can see his potential. Athletic-wise, he’s unbelievable, he’s got the strength and skills – he’s already improved loads since he’s been here and hopefully that continues.”