MICHAEL Maguire says Wigan players are now “over” their World Club Challenge disappointment – and ready to kick-on with their Super League title defence.
Just five days after their agonising 21-15 defeat by Australian champions St George-Illawarra, the Warriors return to action with a clash at Salford tonight (kick-off 8pm).
Asked whether he feared a dip in enthusiasm following that loss, Maguire said: “No, they’re past that disappointment,
“I’m lucky that I’ve got a pretty good group here, they’re all hungry to do well, they’ve not needed picking up or anything like that.
“They understand what they need to do and they’ll be fine.
“As soon as we got back to training they wanted to get stuck into the hard work.”
Having analysed their performance against the Dragons, Maguire has highlighted certain areas he is keen to improve.
“We were extremely close and we’ll get a lot out of it, we’ll grow from it – I think it’ll take us further as a group,” he said.
“This group has come a long way in the time I’ve been here, it was just unfortunate we couldn’t get the scoreline ticking our way last week but there were chances there that we could have executed better. When St George got their chances they took them and that’s what we have to do.
“We’ve got a lot of young blokes in our side and the experience they had last week, you couldn’t buy that.
“They tested themselves against the best in the NRL, against a lot of Test and State of Origin players, and that will make them better players.”
Tonight’s match at the crumbling Willows ground marks a stark contrast to the excitement and hype surrounding their World Club Challenge, but Maguire added: “It is different, but the reason we got the chance to play in the World Club was because we performed week in, week out in Super League last season and earned that right. If we want to play in another World Club, we need to earn that right again.”
Wigan last season recorded a double over Salford, who beat Wakefield 32-6 last Sunday.