Powell: We’re backing ourselves

Sam Powell
Sam Powell

Sam Powell says the Wigan players are “backing ourselves” to retain their top-four spot as the Super-8s reaches a dramatic climax.

Warriors’ tense 30-22 win at Hull FC last Friday propelled them up to third in the table - and prompted bookmakers to slash the odds on them defending their title.

Shaun Wane’s men are now second-favourite with Sky Bet to win the Grand Final following their incredible surge up the table, having finished the regular 23-round campaign in seventh.

Just two points split third and sixth, with FC, Wakefield and St Helens all scrapping for the two play-offs spots.

Hooker Powell said: “We’ve made it hard work for ourselves, but we back ourselves.

“We were pretty upset from Wembley, and we spoke about making sure we deliver the performances in these games.

“We know we can score points against anyone - it’s a case of getting our shapes on and executing them well.

“We saw glimpses of that against Hull, but there were other things we need to improve.”

Wigan trailed 22-20 with three minutes to go before Anthony Gelling crossed, and then John Bateman added a lick of gloss to the final scoreline.

“It was a totally different game to the week before,” said Powell, nodding to the 26-16 win at St Helens.

“We threw a lot of shape at St Helens and they couldn’t handle us out wide, but against Hull - especially after the (Liam Watts) sending off - it needed a cool head to direct it.

“The first 15 minutes of the second-half was perfect, but we went away from it again. We went away from being direct.

“Hull are a good side, even though they went a man down, they can bite you and they did.

“But we knew we could win the game. If it came down to the last set of the game we’d back ourselves, and Gells did a great job and went over the top of (Marc) Sneyd.”

Table-toppers Castleford visit the DW Stadium on Sunday - the Warriors’ last home outing this year - before they complete their Super-8s fixtures at Wakefield the following weekend.

“Cas’ have already got top spot but I don’t think they’ll want to lose form with two games to go,” added Powell. “They’ve been pretty consistent this season, they’ve been flying, and I expect them to turn up.”