Liam Marshall pinpoints the turning point of Wigan Warriors' season
From flirting with relegation to targeting a top-two spot, Wigan have made a remarkable recovery to salvage their Super League campaign.
And Liam Marshall can pinpoint the exact turning point of their season - the thrilling 19-18 win at Hull KR in June.
The Warriors headed into match match in ninth position and on the back of three successive defeats.
But Sam Powell’s dramatic drop-goal sealed a sizzling 19-18 win which blew away the gloom, and laid the platform for a strong run of form which has seen them claim nine wins from 10.
A victory tomorrow would move Wigan to second spot and it hasn’t only been their rise up the ladder which has caught the eye, but the way they have performed, with a tigerish defence and composed displays.
“When you look back at it, and the position we were in, that Hull KR win was massive for us,” said winger Marshall. “If Sam hadn’t kicked it and they’d won, you could be looking at a completely different season to the one we’ve had.
“It was always going to be a tough transition with a new coach and that win really kicked us on.
“We’d had a lot of difficult chats up to that point - it seemed every week we’d be asking, ‘What’s going on’.
“You try and keep upbeat, it’s not that lads are moping around but you could sense a rattiness, but when we were losing and down near the bottom, everyone was tense, stressing about making mistakes.
“Now, we have that competitive edge but we’re more relaxed and that makes us play better.”
Adrian Lam is adamant Wigan have yet to hit their peak and Marshall says performing for 80 minutes remains their No.1 goal as they sharpen their focus on tomorrow’s clash at Wakefield.
This will be their first match since beating Warrington 20-6 at the DW Stadium; the Wolves have played twice since then, beating St Helens at Wembley and then losing to Salford in the league last Thursday night.
“It’s probably helped us, having the break and letting lads get over niggles and injuries,” said Marshall. “But Wembley is something we want to be a part of again and it’s added motivation, the fact that our two biggest rivals have been in a big final already, we’ve not, and there’s only one more - and we all want to be in the Grand Final.
“We just know we need to get the three wins and wherever we finish, we’ll take.
“We know we could slip out the five if we don’t perform and after how hard we’ve worked, that would be tough to take, so that’s keeping us all motivated. We’ve played some good rugby recently but not over a prolonged period, and we need to start playing 80 minutes performances."