Gabe Hamlin says Wigan’s middles are on a mission tomorrow to restore their bruised reputations.
The Warriors were well beaten by Wakefield’s bigger pack in last Thursday’s 32-16 defeat.
And Aussie Hamlin fears if they don’t muscle up against Hull FC enforcers Mickey Paea and Scott Taylor, they risk earning a reputation for being “soft”.
He said: “The big boys tore us apart last week. We weren’t up for it.
“We got a big rocket up us this week, we don’t want to be known as a soft team.
“The boys will definitely fix it up this week.”
Wigan made a flying start to this season, losing just two of their opening 15 games – one-score defeats at St Helens and Warrington – to cement second-spot in the ladder.
And while they have held onto their place behind leaders St Helens, three defeats in a row has created a sense of unease.
Their turn in fortunes came following Shaun Wane’s decision to step down at the end of the year, but Hamlin has played down the impact that has had on the players.
“I don’t think it’s affected the club,” said the 21-year-old. “It was said once, and put behind us. We know it’s happening bu we don’t harp on about it.
“People say it’s an excuse but I don’t believe it. I reckon once we get that first win we’ll go on the roll, and when we’re confident I don’t think many teams can stop us.
“The boys are positive because we know what we can do.
“This week has probably been the best week in a long time. It should be no excuse if we don’t win. Hull are a top class team, but so are we.”
Injuries to Ryan Sutton, Ben Flower and Taulima Tautai – as well as Joel Tomkins’ suspension – created an opening for Hamlin to return to the side last week and he is expected to keep
hold of his place in the side for tomorrow's match.
While he was disappointed with last week’s result, there was one positive – he scored his debut first-team try in front of his parents, who returned home to Australia yesterday.
“They’ve liked it. The weather has been perfect so they haven’t seen a bad side of it!” he smiled.
“It’s been good having them here, because sometimes it can be lonely on your own.”
They had a brief holiday in Italy, adding to the places Hamlin has visited in his first few months living over here.
“I’ve been to Berlin, Dublin, France, and all over Britain – London, the Lake District recently – I’ve not had a second off,” he said.
“I love the fact everywhere is so close. When the weather is nice, I don’t see the point of sitting on the couch watching Friends.”
Although he has rarely figured since his off-season arrival, the compact prop has become a firm favourite with many fans for his strong carries and work-rate.
And he is confident there is much more to come if he can nail down a regular spot.
“I appreciate the support, it makes me feel more welcome,” he said. “In Sydney, the fans aren’t anywhere near as passionate.
“I think if I can get a couple of games under my belt, I’ll get my timing right and if I can go week-to-week, I know I’ve got a lot more to offer.
“I know I’ll come good with a couple of games under my belt.”