Talking RL: I’m excited about Warriors and the near-future. But...

Zak Hardaker, Liam Marshall and Chris Hankinson were all smiles last week
Zak Hardaker, Liam Marshall and Chris Hankinson were all smiles last week

By 10pm tomorrow night, Wigan could be two points off third.

By 10pm tomorrow night, Wigan could be outside the play-offs spots, a huge six points off third... and at risk of dropping to seventh once the Catalans-Wakefield game finishes on Saturday. With a derby against Saints on the horizon.

So, yes, I completely see why Adrian Lam is not getting too excited yet. Can see why a four-game winning run has not put him on cloud nine.

Can see why the message from the coach is to keep their feet on the ground, their head down, their work-rate up.

Because the table is so congested, one or two slips could really change the complexion and undo the good work – and scrub some of the confident built up – from the past month.

Still, I’m encouraged by what I’ve seen.

Warriors may need to beat one of the top-three sides before they will be considered a Super League force again, but they have been stealthily going around their business in the past few weeks.

Consider this: the shrewdest of observers – the bookies – now have Wigan as third-favourite for Grand Final glory. They are controlling the ball well, attacking with energy and defending with hunger. They are getting personnel back.

And what pleases me most about this Wigan side is the unshakable feeling that they aren’t done yet.

When transfer speculation is simmering, it usually sparks a bit of a media game.

Coaches and players know what questions will be fired their way and prepare an answer before interviews begin.

The trick as a reporter is to try and pose a different question to prise out some more details.

The good ones don’t bite. They keep to their own script.

This week, not surprisingly, Lam was asked at his weekly press conference about Jackson Hastings. He gave a composed answer, admitting his interest in the Salford halfback without confirming the deal was done, and signing off that he is keeping his “fingers crossed” Wigan have him for 2020.

And so I followed up by asking him: “If I could find a bookie offering odds on Hastings being at Wigan next season, what would your advice to me be?”

He pondered, smiled, and replied: “I’d tell you... I better not say.”

Hastings gave Sky Sports a live interview yesterday but, for whatever reason, wasn’t asked about his own future.

One thing is for sure, though, is whenever the move is confirmed, the prospect of seeing Hastings in a Warriors shirt is exciting, and would certainly soften the blow of losing George Williams to Canberra.

Nearly three months ago, after Wigan had edged a 30-26 win at Salford, I wrote in my report: “Super League is lucky to have Jackson Hastings in the competition. He is a supremely gifted halfback and was a constant menace against Wigan – always lurking, crafting, creating.”

As an extra positive, Hastings is great at interacting with fans and he’s brilliant with the media. Which is not to say Williams isn’t, by the way – but the club’s biggest star has been off-limits to reporters all year because his move to Canberra has still not been confirmed.

How good have London made this Super League?

Not only by proving capable of claiming a few scalps, but for making this relegation scrap a real dog-fight.

I’m convinced some sides were a bit cagey about recruiting in the off-season because they expected the Broncos to struggle. Had big-spending Toronto come up, they may have bolstered their squads further.

I’ll hold my hand up and admit I thought London would be cut adrift early on.

And while they still may go down, they have enriched the competition, dragging Leeds, Hull KR and now Huddersfield into a fight for top-flight survival. A down-side to the drama at the bottom is next week’s Saints-Wigan derby is not being televised – which I’m still quite staggered about.

Blimey, the North West Lionhearts are certainly taking their two-week tour to Jamaica seriously.

As well as 22 players – half from Wigan – and two tour managers, three coaches, a physio, a kitman, and even a media manager, the official squad list also includes: Paul Rickleton (Hydration Specialist).

St Pats’ glittering alumni grew this year when Adrian Lam’s son made his Sydney Roosters debut – Lachlan played at the Wigan club as a youngster!

Now, Pats will be able to track another NRL player who once donned their black kit; Brisbane Broncos are to give a debut to Herbie Farnworth, a nephew of ex-Warriors development coach Brian Foley, this weekend.