Liam Farrell has called on Wigan to send out a message to the rest of Super League – and themselves – against Warrington on Friday night.
The Warriors host the second-placed Wolves at the DW Stadium, knowing victory would see them join their second-placed opponents on 30 points with three games to go.
That would be the highest Wigan have been all season, with Adrian Lam’s side recovering from a sluggish start to come good at the right time.
Just as importantly, it would prove the reigning Super League champions are the real deal, after flattering to deceive in the big games so far this year.
They’ve lost all six clashes against St Helens and Warrington in 2019 – three to each side – including elimination from the Challenge Cup at the hands of Wire.
And Farrell says that is a huge psychological monkey Wigan need to get off their backs before the play-offs get under way next month.
“We’re at the point now where we’ve done really well to get where we have – but we need to take it to that next level,” he told the Wigan Post.
“I still don’t believe there’s a feeling yet within the team that we’re a team that can win the Grand Final.
“We need to take it a step further – we’ve not proved to enough teams we’re good enough to win it this year.
“We’ve had big chats this week about how we can go about proving that, and make a name for ourselves as a group.
“We’ve been consistent enough in recent weeks to get us in a position to challenge.
“But in some of the really big games – like Warrington this weekend – we have to start knocking off.”
Wigan’s recent form has certainly been good enough to suggest they can take that next step, with last weekend’s victory over Hull KR being their eighth in their last nine outings.
Despite the 36-18 win, though, Farrell says the players – and coach Lam – were far from delighted with the peformance.
“We’ve had some pretty good wins in recent weeks and been very consistent,” added Farrell, whose return from injury has coincided with the recent resurgence.
“Last weekend we were probably a little bit disappointed with the way we performed – even though we got the win we wanted.
“I just think some of the things we wanted to throw at them, we didn’t manage to do.
“We didn’t stick to our structures, and in the bigger games that can cost you dear.
“Lammy got a bit angry at half-time – and rightly so.
“I think we approached the game with the wrong attitude, and didn’t play the way we needed to.”