Captain Trent Barrett believes his Wigan Warriors side can go all the way in the Super League play-offs – and give him the perfect farewell as he leaves to join Cronulla Sharks.
|Trent Barrett says his Wigan side are heading to France with belief [GALLO/GETTY]
Australian Barrett was instrumental as Warriors roared back from 8-0 down to beat Bradford Bulls 30-14 at Widnes and set up an elimination semi-final with Catalans Dragons.
The French club beat Warrington Wolves 46-8 on Saturday to leave Wigan facing a daunting trip to Perpignan on Saturday next week.
But Barrett, 30, says the Lancashire club have every chance of coming home with a win – and pushing for their first Super League crown since Andy Farrell lifted the trophy in 1998.
"No one's probably expecting us to beat those top three teams so we just have to go and give it a real good shaking," said the former Australia international.
"Our grit and determination over the last couple of weeks has been very good."
That grit was in evidence as Wigan ran in five tries on Friday, overcoming an early Bulls onslaught and making up for some suspect handling by the Warriors.
And while Wigan are no longer the dominant force of the eighties and nineties, stand off Barrett believes their reduced status in the game can work in their favour.
Heat is on
"It's a hard month and if you look at the table, Leeds, St Helens and France are a mile ahead of everyone on points so all the pressure's on them and there's no pressure on us," he said.
"No one really expected us to get a draw last week (against St Helens) and we'll be underdogs next week, so it suits us."
Winger Justin Murphy will be the Catalans dangerman after running in four tries against Warrington, adding to scores from Thomas Bosc, Dimitri Pelo, Casey McGuire, Gregory Mounis and Clint Greenshields.
But speaking immediately after Wigan's win at the Stobart Stadium, Barrett – emerging from a raucous dressing room - said the trip held no fear.
"We've done our bit and we can just sit back and relax tomorrow (Saturday) and watch them belt the crap out of each other and see who we play.
"If we go to France we go to France and we've got to fancy our chances down there as well."
Wigan legend Joe Lydon agreed that the side had their destiny in their own hands after their win in Widnes – a fixture moved away from the JJB Stadium because of Wigan Athletic's football match with Sunderland the next day.
"Our chances are as good as anyone else's. We've got momentum coming into the playoffs, it's great to get a home win - tongue-in-cheek," he said.
"To get that kind of win against Bradford gives us more momentum and we go now with an extra day to recover.
"There's some great feelings in that dressing room and the boys deserve it because they've worked so hard over the past six or seven weeks.
"Getting into this position gives us a springboard and a platform, so we've got a great chance."
Catalans Dragons play Wigan a day after St Helens face Leeds in the qualifying semi-final on Friday.
The winners of that semi-final go through to the Grand Final, with their opponents determined by a final eliminator between the losers of St Helens-Leeds and the winners of Catalans-Wigan.