THOMAS Leuluai admits Wigan will have to up their standards dramatically if they are make a realistic challenge to get to Old Trafford.
Wigan wrapped up the League Leaders Shield at the weekend with a dramatic 42-36 victory at Hull KR.
But they had to do it the hard way, fighting back from a 26-0 deficit to steal the points right at the death with the greatest comeback in Super League history.
The game marked Leuluai’s return after three months out with a broken leg sustained in the International Origin game in June. And the Kiwi coming through unscathed was another massive positive for the Warriors.
But Leuluai himself was far from happy with the bigger picture.
“It’s always a sign of a good team when you don’t play well an win, but we can’t do the things we did on Sunday and expect to win the competition,” he said.
“There were silly errors, knock-ons and penalties. We can’t do that again.
“People say it can help to get a dodgy performance out of the way before the play-offs, but I’ve never believed in that.
“I think you should go out to play well every week – you don’t purposely want to play bad so you don’t play badly in the play-offs.”
On a personal note, Leuluai gave coach Shaun Wane a massive boost ahead of the run-in by returning weeks ahead of schedule.
The Warriors haven’t hit the straps they did in the first half of the season in Leuluai’s absence.
And the scrum-half admits he was champing at the bit to get back on to the field to help his colleagues.
“I was trying to get a game in the Under-20s as I needed a run-out, but they don’t have any games,” he revealed.
“So Waney said: ‘Just play 30 minutes.’ I played the 30 minutes, then he put me back on for the last eight.
“I thought I might not play for Wigan again, especially when I got the news that it was a break – I thought the season was gone.
“I was lucky really that it was a decent break and I worked really hard to get back.
“I thought it was ligaments at first but then they told me I’d broken my leg. I thought that’d be worse, but they told me it was better.
“As soon as I heard it was 12 weeks I knew I had to work as hard as I can. It was tough, but all players go through it I’ve not been too bad with injuries, so I can’t complain.
“I wouldn’t have wished for it to be in a game of that intensity and with so much on the line but that’s the way it was.”