Wigan Warriors ended the Super League regular season atop the table thus claiming the League Leaders Shield for a fourth time during the summer era, but perhaps more crucially they earned themselves a home semi-final and a week off by merit of that position.
The final round of Super League saw the Warriors level on points with Catalans Dragons and St Helens, all three sides with a chance at the League Leaders Shield but equally just as much chance at missing out on the valued top two.
As it turned out all three sides won and with the huge points difference discrepancies the top three remained unchanged guaranteeing Wigan silverware but arguably more importantly a home game to make the Grand Final.
Across this current era of St Helens’ dominance the Red Vee have won all four Grand Finals having finished the regular season within the top two, highlighting it’s importance and that’s not something that’s eluded Wigan boss Matt Peet.
Speaking to Serious About Rugby League, he explained: “I think the most important thing about finishing top is you get the week off, you get the home semi-final so they were big incentives for us and we worked hard to get it.”
Despite highlighting the importance of the week off Peet was more than aware that it served his side no benefits last year as they crashed out at home to Leeds Rhinos, something he and the team were eager to learn from.
“You would think it would (make a difference) but last year we got it and we didn’t win the semi-final so we’re more than aware that there’s no guarantee that you’re going to perform well in the semi-final.
“We’ve got to work hard this week and re-energise the players, reflect on what we’re doing well and also discuss some things we can do better and get some more training through that.
“It’s difficult because there’s things that we feel like we’ve learnt from last year, whether it pays off or not is yet to be seen. So we’ll certainly be trying to do things a bit better than we did last year.”
This year the Warriors will face a familiar foe in Hull KR, a side that they’ve faced off with on four occasions in 2023 with the honours split at two wins a piece.
Crucially among those wins though was the Challenge Cup semi-final, a golden point thriller, however the sole game played at the DW saw Wigan run riot against an under par and rested Rovers side.
The teams face off on Saturday with television coverage from both Channel 4 and Sky Sports for the 12.45pm kick-off.