McIlorum targets cup double

Challenge Cup Final, Hull FC v Wigan Warriors:  Michael McIlorum and Logan Tomkins with the fans
Challenge Cup Final, Hull FC v Wigan Warriors: Michael McIlorum and Logan Tomkins with the fans

MICKY McIlorum is hoping Wigan can go one better than what they did after the 2011 Challenge Cup victory and lift the Super League trophy too.

The last time a club picked up the coveted double was back in 2006 when arch-rivals St Helens took both prizes back to Knowsley Road.

McIlorum believes the Warriors can end the seven-year curse that followed though, and carry on the momentum from Saturday’s win at Wembley into the remaining Super League matches.

Wigan come up against defeated finalists Hull FC again this weekend and then Leeds before the play-offs begin.

The hooker admits that the side’s form tapered after the 2011 cup win but reckons the victory this time will give them the inspiration to kick on.

“It does definitely,” he insisted. “In 2011 when we won the Challenge Cup, we sort of faded off a little bit. I know Shaun will really want us to kick on and contend for that Grand Final spot.

“Everyone knows what we have to do and Shaun makes no bones about what your job is and if you’re not doing it right then you won’t be in the team.

“I’ve known Shaun for nearly 10 years, he’s coached me from the academy into the first team and to have that stability is great.”

News that Wane has received a contract extension is music to McIlorum’s ears – he believes the head coach is the perfect man to lead Wigan to further glory.

Reflecting on Saturday’s win though, the 25-year-old admits that Wigan struggled in the difficult conditions but more than earned their victory in the end.

“The conditions weren’t the best and there were a lot of errors from both teams, spilling the ball and giving each other a lot of chances,” he said.

“I think we deserved it in the end really. We were just happy to get the win, obviously nilling them makes it a little bit better but to win at Wembley, you don’t really care how you do it, once you’ve won you’re buzzing.”

Wigan’s better handling of the wet ball was one of the key strengths over Hull, whose completion rate was nothing short of dire.

But McIlorum insists he and his team-mates found it no easier and that it was the kicking games of Blake Green and Lance Todd winner Matty Smith that was the difference in the end.

“I think we did it ourselves quite a lot,” he conceded. “Once we did it and Hull did it, you do feel a sense of relief after they’ve done it.

“They’re trying to build pressure and we’re trying to build pressure, both teams did that to the highest standard we could do and obviously the conditions played a big part in that.

“Greeny and Matty did some great kicks and we got them in that arm wrestle, kicked one, kept them in there and I think that was a big part of us winning.”