Wigan Warriors boss Adrian Lam turns focus to facing "red hot favourites" St Helens

Wigan coach Adrian Lam believes his team are ready to turn over arch-rivals St Helens and secure a spot at Old Trafford.

Friday, 20th September 2019, 11:20 pm
Updated Saturday, 21st September 2019, 12:20 am
Oliver Gildart scores the opener

A hard-fought 18-12 victory over the Red Devils at the DW Stadium sets up a derby showdown at the Totally Wicked Stadium next Friday, with a place in the Grand Final at stake.

Saints were the last team to beat Wigan, back in July when they completed a third derby success of the season, but Lam's men have now won their last eight matches.

"It's potentially the biggest derby in rugby league throughout the world," Lam said. "These are the games you want to play in.

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"Saints have been the best team all year and they will be red hot favourites but we will go there with a team we think can challenge them.

"They're red hot favourites, they're supposed to win. Supposed to win."

Wigan were never behind against Salford and looked to have clinched victory thanks to two tries in a four-minute spell from half-backs Thomas Leuluai and George Williams early in the second half.

But the visitors demonstrated the never-say-spirit that earned them a third-place finish and a solo try from half-back Jackson Hastings, who will be a Wigan player in 2020, tested the Warriors' resilience in a tense finish.

"I'm exhausted emotionally but really proud of the boys' courage and resilience," Lam said. "They kept turning up for each other.

"We weren't great with the ball and we gave away a lot of penalties but our scrambling defence was unbelievable.

"I don't know how we stopped them scoring but we did. That defence is probably what us got to where we are in the second half of the year."

The loser next Friday will have another chance to reach Old Trafford and Salford will be aiming to make the most of their second bite of the cherry as they prepare to face Castleford at the AJ Bell Stadium in the elimination semi-final next Thursday.

Watson was disappointed with a late challenge by Wigan prop Tony Clubb on Hastings as he went over for his try and believes the judiciary may need to examine how the Australian playmaker sustained an eye injury during another clash with Clubb.

"It was an incident off the ball," Watson said. "He kind of whacked his hand across him. It's another one for the officials."