MICHAEL Maguire has pin-pointed Hull KR’s marquee recruit Willie Mason as one of the key threats to their chances of claiming a much-needed victory tonight.
Mason’s arrival at Hull KR was trumpeted as one of Super League’s biggest recruits from overseas.
The former Kangaroos prop famously sent Stuart Fielden spiralling during a 2006 Test match and, while the Wigan prop won’t be playing tonight, all eyes will be on Mason’s clashes with the Warriors’ pack.
The former Canterbury Bulldogs star has generated plenty of headlines and hype for his outspoken views.
But as the Warriors aim to end a three-game streak without a win, Maguire has warned his players not to ignore the qualities that the 24-Test veteran has in his arsenal.
“Willie’s a character of the game,” he said. “But he’s also played at a high level and performed at a high level for a long period of time. He’s definitely a danger player for them.”
Since a man of the match debut against Crusaders a month ago, Mason’s performances have been far more modest as Hull KR lost three games in a row before a 38-28 triumph over Leeds a week ago.
“It takes a bit for a player to come over here and perform,” added Maguire. “But he’s going to be a tough one for us and we look forward to the challenge.”
Wigan have never lost back-to-back games during Maguire’s tenure and he has called for radical improvements on their display in the 47-28 loss to Catalan a week ago.
The looming showdown against in-form St Helens in a week’s time raises the significance of tonight’s Craven Park encounter.
“We’ve had a good week of training, and now it’s about performing as we can,” said Maguire.
“When the scoreline changes, our mentality shouldn’t change – that’s not what Wigan’s about.”
Having given many of his under-performing stars a chance to redeem themselves tonight, Maguire hinted he may not be as generous again.
“This is a special club and if you don’t perform you don’t get to play for Wigan,” he added.
l MICHAEL Maguire is still refusing to comment over his future, amid wide-spread reports that he has all-but agreed to join NRL club Souths at the end of this season.
l MORE than 21,000 tickets have been sold for Wigan’s derby with St Helens next week.