LEE Mossop has backed the real Wigan Warriors to turn up at the Magic Weekend – and exorcise the demons of last week’s embarrassing blip against Catalans.
The Warriors were hammered 58-16 by the rampant Dragons in Perpignan last weekend, their fourth-worst defeat of all-time.
And it doesn’t get any easier for Shaun Wane’s men, with the clash with league leaders Leeds Rhinos the highlight of the Magic Weekend at Newcastle United’s St James’ Park stadium.
Mossop, though, believes Brian McDermott’s men are the perfect opposition against whom to bounce back.
And he says the players are determined to give a better account of themselves on the big stage.
When asked whether the Catalans defeat was a quirk, Mossop replied: “Yes, I think it was.
“We’ve watched the game back and we were doing things individually that we’ve not done all year.
“It’s too easy to make excuses, about it not being easy to go to France.
“But you’ve got to do it every year and, even though Catalans played well, we didn’t turn up at all.
“We’ve had a tough week in training to put that right, and if we can do that then Catalans will soon be forgotten about.”
Having exited the Challenge Cup at the hands of Hull KR the previous weekend, Warriors are looking for a first win in three against the Rhinos.
But Mossop doesn’t feel the Warriors are that far off being where they want to be at the midway point of the Super League campaign.
“Barring these last two games – when we let ourselves down – we really felt we were building some momentum,” the big prop recognised.
“We were feeling if we could play to our best we could beat anyone.
“This week’s a big opportunity to get back to that, playing against the best team in the league.
“We’re hoping we can put the kind of performance in that can kickstart our season.”
Warriors will have the extra motivation of wanting to avenge a 26-14 defeat at Headingley back in March.
“I’m not making excuses but we were terrible when we played them at the start of the season,” Mossop acknowledged.
“We had no confidence and we felt like we were in a bit of a rut.”
Over 40,000 tickets have already been sold for tomorrow’s opening day of the Magic Weekend, the first time the event has ventured into the north east.
And Mossop remains a massive supporter of the project, now in its ninth year.
“I love it – as much from a fan’s point of view as a player,” he added.
“To be able to go to a new place for a weekend and see every game, most of them big games, is a great concept.
“If we can keep building it up I think we’ve got something really special.”
Coach Shaun Wane has made just one change to his squad with Connor Farrell coming in for Rhodri Lloyd.
Squad: Bateman, Bowen, Burgess, Charnley, Crosby, Farrell, Flower, Hampshire, McIlorum, Mossop, O’Loughlin, Patrick, Powell, Sarginson, Smith, Sutton, Tautai, J Tomkins, Williams.