SHAUN Wane is desperate to preserve Wigan’s record as the best knockout team of 2013 – and guide them to a Grand Final.
The Warriors tackle Leeds in a mouth-watering showdown at the DW Stadium tonight.
Up for grabs is a place in the Grand Final at Old Trafford the following weekend.
And Wane hopes their success in sudden-death contests – they are the only team with a 100 per cent success rate in the Cup and play-offs – will help them overcome the Headingley heavyweights.
He said: “Leeds are a good team, they can play in big games.
“But this year we’ve been the best knockout team an if we do what we’re good at, we’ll give ourselves a chance.”
Wigan haven’t played in more than two weeks after their opening play-off victory over Huddersfield. And Wane has taken action to try and ensure they aren’t rusty from their weekend off.
“We had a smash up last week with the Under-19s, and the GPS showed we did more in that session than in a match, so that put us in a good place coming into this week,” he said.
The prize at stake should be enough in itself to lure fans through the DW turnstiles tonight. But there will be an added incentive to cheer the team on, with Pat Richards, Sam Tomkins and Lee Mossop departing.
Chris Tuson, who will not play, is also leaving the club.
Richards’ eight years makes him the club’s longest serving Australian during the post-War era.
“He’s left a huge mark here,” said Wane. “He’s not like an Aussie, he’s like a Wiganer.
“He’s a quality player and a fantastic person.
“I lean on him quite heavily and I want the win to make sure he gets the send-offs.
“He’s up there in the top three Aussies this club has ever had. As a man, he’s even higher.
“I want players to train hard, play tough, love their families, be professional and let their hair down at the right time – and that’s what Pat does.
“He epitomises everything I want us to do.”