Barrie McDermott says Wigan Warriors have winning mentality back
Last Updated: 18/07/13 11:31pm
O'Loughlin: made comeback from injury against Widnes
Barrie McDermott reckons the current Wigan side is on par with the all-conquering team of the early 1990s.
The Warriors advanced to the semi-finals of the Challenge Cup on Monday night courtesy of a 48-4 victory over Widnes, while they sit top of the Super League table after 21 rounds.
Wigan seized seven straight league titles between 1990-96 but have only won Super League twice since its inception 17 years ago, most recently in 2010 under the stewardship of Australian Michael Maguire.
"Wigan now have players to rival that Shaun Edwards-Martin Offiah era."
However, Sky Sports pundit McDermott credits Maguire with rediscovering the Warriors' mojo and thinks the North West club, now coached by Wigan legend Shaun Wane, are on the verge of creating something special.
"I have been impressed since Maguire came into the club as they have recaptured the winning mentality that they had in the late 1980s and early 1990s," McDermott said of Wigan, who will meet Super League strugglers London Broncos in the last four of the Challenge Cup.
"They fancy the Cup now but they fancy every game that they play and see it as a chance for each and every player to get on the scoreboard - and they now have players to rival that Shaun Edwards-Martin Offiah era."
Wigan seal semi-final spot
McDermott's fellow analyst, former Wigan stalwart Terry O'Connor, added: "This Wigan side has quality and is clinical and, while I don't want to take away from what Maguire did, Wane has inspired that.
"You can see the rapport he has with his players and how much they want to play for him, and because he has coached the youngsters he has faith in them and given them the knowledge to go and play."
Wigan were buoyed by the returns from injury of Lee Mossop, Sean O'Loughlin and Sam Tomkins for the clash with Widnes and duly ran in eight tries to keep alive their hopes of winning a second Challenge Cup crown in three years.
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But O'Connor refused to overly criticise Denis Betts' Vikings side, saying the Cheshire outfit had no option but to attack their opponents as they attempted to secure a first Challenge Cup semi-final berth in 17 seasons.
"Wigan are a great side when you put in Mossop, Tomkins and O'Loughlin, three quality England internationals, so what do Widnes do?" added the Boots 'n' All regular.
"Do they sit back and wait for them to play? No, they really have to go out there and try to take their chances.
"But the one thing that will infuriate Betts was the way that in the second half some of the Widnes players didn't support some of their team-mates because they made enough breaks and caused Wigan problems."