LEE Mossop admits Wigan’s hungry pack of forwards have a point to prove against Leeds tonight.
The Cumbrian prop admits they were out-muscled in their Challenge Cup semi-final defeat.
Sam Tomkins’ early errors set the tone for a disappointing match in a 39-28 defeat – but Mossop knows the contest was really lost in the middle.
And after being humbled by Warrington just a month later, questions were asked in some quarters about Wigan’s forwards – and Mossop is keen to answer them emphatically at the DW Stadium tonight.
He said: “Outside of this club, a lot have spoken about the big games and us not performing when it counts.
“But the games against Leeds in the semi and Warrington are just two big games – there have been other big games when we have done.
“We’ve performed against Saints – and we’ve played them I don’t know how many times this year – so we know what we need to do.
“The old unwritten rule is the forwards win the game, the backs decide by how much.”
Mossop, a Challenge Cup winner at Wembley a year ago, says Warriors can not afford to let the Rhinos pack to get on top tonight.
“In the semi, as a pack, we didn’t perform at all,” he said. “And when you don’t perform, they ran away with the game. It was down to us why we didn’t get the win.
“JP (Jamie Peacock) and Kylie (Leuluai) got the better of us, we’re well aware of that, and hopefully we can put the wrongs right.
“We didn’t react last time, they got on top of us.
“We’ve spoken about it, but we feel in these last few weeks, we’re really building and as a pack, we were outstanding against Catalans.
“So we all know what we have to do, it’s a case of making sure we do our job.”
Mossop has a lot of admiration for the man who has helped lead Rhinos from fifth spot to within 80 minutes of a Grand Final.
Prop Peacock may be one of the elder statesmen of Super League, but the ex-England skipper’s form is showing no sign of fading.
“He’s outstanding,” said Mossop. “When I got into the England side it was a massive honour to be in there with him and I was gutted he hung up his boots internationally.
“He’s been outstanding for Leeds recently, his game-time is unbelievable.
“But they’ve got quality throughout the side.
“We picked them in the ClubCall but we were always going to go with the lowest-placed. They’re certainly not the weaker team.
“ClubCall may be a motivation factor for Leeds but we won’t under-estimate them, definitely not.”
Mossop missed Wigan’s Grand Final victory two years ago with a shoulder injury and, having been a frustrated supporter then, he is desperate to taste success this time around.
“The fact is it’s do or die – if we lose it’s our season over, our Mad Monday, and we don’t want that,” he said.
“We remember the work we did in pre-season, all the games we won to get the league leaders shield – it will feel like it’s for nothing if we don’t win this.”