Wembley will be in Warrington minds - and we must take advantage, says Liam Farrell
Liam Farrell has played in enough Challenge Cup finals and Grand Finals to know what goes through a player’s head the week before.
Which is why he believes Wigan Warriors have to take full advantage tonight of any sign of Warrington looking ahead to next weekend’s Wembley showpiece against St Helens.
“It is so difficult to play the weekend before a Challenge Cup final, I’ve been there,” Farrell told the Wigan Post.
“It’s not that I expect their form to dip, but it’s always there in the back of your mind, not wanting to get injured and miss Wembley.
“I will definitely expect it to be in the back of their minds, but they also know they have to win to keep second spot in their own hands.
“With us and Hull FC looking to put even more pressure on them, it makes for an even bigger game.
“They’re trying to hold on to that second spot, we’re trying to push up from third and fourth, and it makes for an exciting end to the season.
“I wouldn’t say they’ll be worried, but they’ll definitely be wary of what’s around them.
“They rested a few players last week, but I do think they’ll be a lot stronger for this game.
“We’ll be expected a very strong Warrington team to show up, and a team that will be coming here to win.”
After a superb run of eight wins from their last nine matches, a Wigan win would see them climb level with second-placed Warrington.
Not bad for a side written off by all and sundry a few months ago.
“I wouldn’t say we’ve flown under the radar, but more we’ve gone about our business very quietly,” acknowledged Farrell.
“We knew eventually we would find some form – and we have done.
“It’s given the players a huge boost, but at the same time we know we’re not there yet.
“We’ve not reached our plateau – we need to carry on going and push for more.”
Farrell also knows where Wigan have to stake their territory from the off.
“Their middle is always good – Chris Hill, Mike Cooper, and Daryl Clark, who been one of the best No.9s this year,” he said.
“Their outside backs are also not too bad, they’ve got threats all over the park.
“They’re a proven top-four side who have proved they’re ready to win something in recent years.
“They reached two finals last year, and they’ll be wanting to go at least one better this time.”
Former Warrior Matty Smith – who recently joined Wire from Catalans Dragons – will also have a point to prove.
“It’s probably been a strange 12 months for him, going over to France and coming back,” Farrell added.
“But knowing ‘Smeegs’, he’s a very professional player, very experienced, and it’s a very smart move for Warrington to have got him.
“Having lost Blake Austin, they need someone to move them around the field – and that’s one of his best assets.”