Shaun Wane has labelled Friday night's game against Catalans as ‘vital’ to Wigan’s chances of a play-off place this term.
Warriors meet Steve McNamara’s Dragons in the last round of the regular season before the Super 8s kick off in two weeks’ time, knowing a win will seal second spot, and an extra home game.
And Wane is confident his side can end Catalans’ unbeaten run of five games, despite the Dragons’ current good run.
“We feel defensively we can get them in a few areas, and if we do that then we’ve got a chance of getting the two points – and the two points are absolutely vital to us,” he
“We have to win this game to give us a good draw in the 8s.
“Every game is very, very important, especially a game against Catalans.
“They’re hitting some form.”
McNamara is resting a clutch of his players for tonight’s clash, with an eye on next weekend’s Challenge Cup semi-final and safe in the knowledge the Dragons will be in Super League in 2019.
But Wane insists he is taking his players into the clash with no air of complacency.
“I’m going into this game with my eyes wide open,” he said.
“I know what they’re capable of. They’re a very good team without a shadow of a doubt, they showed that in what they did last week.”
The coach warned Catalans will be a different prospect to the side Wigan beat 32-23 back in April, when Warriors had to fight back from being
23-4 down with half an hour to go.
And he thinks the size Catalans boast in the forwards will be Wigan’s biggest obstacle if they are to get the points needed to seal second place in the table.
“They’re a tough team to beat and they’ve got some big middles, far bigger than us, so again that tells us we need to be very, very good with our detail,” Wane said.
“We’re probably the smallest team in Super League so our detail has to be very good in contact, none more so than this weekend.”
While Wane isn’t welcoming anyone back from injury this weekend, he revealed NRL-bound prop Ryan Sutton, skipper Sean O’Loughlin and George Williams are working their way back to fitness.
“Ryan Sutton should be back around round one of two of the Super 8s – he’s running all right and looking pretty good,” said Wane.
“We’ve got some great players to come back, players who are very important to us – the sooner we get these guys back the better.”