Warriors aim to strike blow to Wolves

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23rd June 2013

Wigan Warriors have the chance to remove one of their rivals for the league leaders shield when they visit Warrington Wolves tomorrow.

Third-placed Wolves will be eight points adrift of the leaders with eight matches left of the regular season if they fail to halt Wigan's 13-match winning run, although Tony Smith insists he is unaware of the latest table.

"I haven't looked at it," the Warrington boss said. "I have spent no time thinking about it.

"They have gone really well but we're not too bothered about whether they get top spot or we do. We are just trying to get better and keep in form.

"We will have to be good to beat Wigan; they are the form team of the year so far. They have shown that by where they sit at the moment.

"My job is to get the team to play well each week. We are doing that at the moment. We are pleased with the way we are going about our footy."

Tomorrow's game at the Halliwell Jones Stadium is arguably the biggest of the Super League season so far.

While Wigan have not lost since they went down to Leeds Rhinos in March, Warrington have re-discovered their touch with three consecutive wins in which they have piled up 198 points.

Warriors coach Shaun Wane knows his side's unbeaten run will be put to the test but insists there will be no celebrating if they see off their arch rivals.

"I don't think about things like that," he said. "I just want to win every game.

"When it comes to Leeds in the last game, no matter what state we are in in the league, I will push the lads hard to win that game as well. That is just the mentality here.

"It's always been a real tough battle with Warrington. It was when I played and I don't think it's changed.

"They deserve all the plaudits they get. They are a really good club. They have got some real talent throughout the squad. I don't see any weaknesses there."

England forwards Liam Farrell and Lee Mossop are set to make their 100th appearances for Wigan but the leaders are still without Sean O'Loughlin, Michael McIlorum, Ben Flower, Gil Dudson and Blake Green.

Smith believes the Warriors will still be strong, although he admits they will sorely miss O'Loughlin, his current choice of Man of Steel who is currently sidelined with a knee injury.

"They have developed a lot of good young players," Smith said. "They have got a system where people slot into positions and play a role for them.

"They play pretty much the same every week. They have got a couple of jokers in the pack, particularly with (Sam) Tomkins.

"The interesting bit will be the absence of Sean O'Loughlin, who I think has been the stand-out player.

"Sam does the unbelievable at times and I am a big fan but Sean is Man of Steel by a long, long, long way so far this year in my opinion.

"How they miss him over the next month will be interesting. He is so smart in the way he is playing at the moment."

Warrington are virtually at full strength and Wane insists his side will go into the game as underdogs.

"It's a real big test and I'm really excited about it," he added.

"They're going to be red hot favourites, with the injuries we have got.

"I'd have loved to have gone there with a fully-fit squad. It would have been a real battle. It still will be but I'd have liked to have gone with a full team.

"It's a huge test but I'll guarantee Warrington will know they have been in a game. That's what I expect. I want them to stand up and do a job."

Warriors aim to strike blow to Wolves 2013.superleague.co.uk
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