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Wembley won’t distract us, says the Wrecking Ball

Frank-Paul Nuuausala drives the ball up against Huddersfield
Frank-Paul Nuuausala drives the ball up against Huddersfield

Kiwi prop Frank-Paul Nuuausala is confident Wembley will not prove a distraction when they tackle Salford tonight.

Wigan’s precarious position in the table – in seventh spot – means a defeat would significantly dent, if not end, their hopes of climbing into the play-offs spots.

And Nuuausala – who arrived from Canberra a year ago with the nickname ‘The Wrecking ball’ – says the significance of tonight’s Super League match will ensure it receives their full focus.

“We’re not thinking about Wembley. We’re thinking about Salford and getting up the ladder,” he said.

“It won’t be a distraction, because this is really important to us for Super League.

“If we get two points, we’re not far off the top-four.”

Wigan’s last Wembley appearance in 2013 was preceded by a Super League defeat, at Catalans.

Shaun Wane’s outfit were encouraged by their last outing, beating Huddersfield 18-4 to cut the gap on derby rivals St Helens to two points.

Nuuausala believes it was a marker of the attitude they will need to maintain until the end of the season.

“When we have the right attitude in defence, we win more games,” the former Kiwi Test prop added.

“We know what we’re capable of, and what standards we have.

“If we don’t defend well, we may not win and the coach will be really angry and be on our case!” Winger Joe Burgess is chasing the two points to maintain their push for a top-four spot, and to also ensure they don’t limp into the Challenge Cup Final with areas to address.

“You can’t not think about Wembley, it’ s a massive game,” he said.

“We don’t want a bad performance against Salford because it will impact on the week after, and it will reduce our chances of getting into the top-four. We’ve done one job getting to the Challenge Cup final, now we have to focus on getting to the Super League.”