I CAN’T tell you how excited everyone is about the derby!
It’s a massive game, no one will admit it but it’s probably been in the back of our minds for a while.
I was brought up watching these Wigan-St Helens games. Then, when I started playing at St Pat’s, the games against the St Helens sides – especially Blackbrook – always had a derby edge to them. When I speak to people outside of Wigan and St Helens, it’s hard to explain what the fixture means and how important it is.
Of course, any derby is a big game, but there seems to be something special about the Good Friday games.
I’m sure, by the end of this week, someone will have mentioned the 2011 game, when I scored the try which won the game. At this stage of the year, it always seems to get brought up and it’s nice that people have such fond memories of it. Paul Deacon has said to me it’s one of the greatest buzzes he’s ever experienced, and it’s definitely one of the highlights of my career.
These games always seem to be special – and I think this will be no different.
We took a bit of confidence from the way we played against Wakefield. After the game, we found out they had lost to Hull KR... I know Shaun Wane has already said a part of him wanted them to win that game, so we could have ended their unbeaten run.
I think the two results have changed the build-up a bit.
If this was a week ago, people would have been saying we’d struggle and Saints are going to walk it. But they’re coming off a loss, we’ve had a 50 point win, and we’ve both got injuries in the mix, so it should make for a good game.
Their defence has been the cornerstone of their great start to the season. They’ve managed to grind out some wins when they’ve not played particularly well – the game at Wakefield springs to mind – and I always think that’s a sign of a good team, when you can win those kind of games.
But our focus this week will be about us, and we’re putting a big emphasis on doing the simple things right.
It’s similar to a Test match in that sense; it’s not the Superman plays you need, but the completions, kicking well, defending tough... that’s what will win the game. We play so much better when we do the simple things well.
Do that, and we give ourselves a good chance of winning the game.