Wigan Warriors stalwart Liam Marshall labelled his teammates ‘a good group of men’ after they sealed the League Leaders’ Shield, confident their grit and determination can take them all the way in 2023.
The Cherry and Whites scored only 10 points on the final night away against near neighbours Leigh Leopards, but ensured they conceded none in the second half with an assured defensive performance to pick up a 10-6 victory.
That saw them hang onto top spot in Super League for the first time since 2020, crucially handing them a week off and home advantage when the semi-finals come around, where they will host one of Hull KR, Leigh and Warrington Wolves.
An academy product, the winger missed out on a 2018 Grand Final triumph through injury, but anticipates that more of the same fight they showed tonight will have them well on their way to another Old Trafford appearance.
Liam Marshall: ‘It’s all on grit and determination and turning up for your mate’
The 27-year-old – who will make his 150th Wigan appearance when that semi-final comes around – spoke to Sky Sports during the post-match celebrations at the LSV.
He said: “(Winning the league) is massive for us, it’s probably not something we had on our radar about six weeks ago, but we’ve just hit a bit of form at the right time and some results have gone our way.
“It’s something that, in the last three weeks, we’ve focused on and it’s a great feeling but the job’s not done. There’s two more games there and that’s obviously our target to a Grand Final.
“At the beginning of the season it took us a few weeks to stick at it. You don’t always have to chase points when you’re in front, and that’s what we did tonight. For the last 15 minutes tonight it was just five drives and a kick, but when you’ve got a team who are willing to defend for each other and willing to carry the ball, that goes a long way.
“This time of the year it’s not about those flashy plays, it’s all on grit and determination and turning up for your mate. We’re a good group of men who just get on with the job, and hopefully that can take us into some success.”
Wigan Warriors winger reveals Challenge Cup heartbreak has been used as motivator for success
Flier Marshall has 115 tries to his name already in a Warriors shirt, with the only other club he’s ever represented at senior level Swinton Lions as a loanee in 2016.
He crossed the whitewash in the 77th minute of last year’s Challenge Cup final against Huddersfield Giants to earn coach Matt Peet his first silverware at the helm of the club in dramatic fashion.
This term, they were knocked out of the cup on golden point at the semi-final stage by Hull KR at Headingley, a moment he revealed they’ve used as fuel to kick on towards a League Leaders’ Shield lift.
He added: “The feeling in the changing rooms at Leeds after that heartbreaking loss is something we’ve honed in on. Last week, we put up a few pictures of our season highlights and funnily enough, that was on there. We spoke in the week about that being a moment where we don’t want to feel that pain again and we don’t want to go through that.
“It’s something that we can lean on. The lesson we learned that day as a team and as a club was trying to put it into our games going forward, and I think it’s worked. Tonight was a good example of that with our backs to the wall, we kept turning up for each other.
“We’ve been building now for two years since Matty took over. It’s just the little things each and every day that we’re doing, and hopefully we can be that champion side. I think in the last couple of years we’ve been a bit off the standard and one team in Saints have set the precedent. We just need to keep doing what we’re doing, and hopefully we can get over the line.
“There’s still some things we need to iron out from tonight, some sloppy errors, penalties and discipline, but when I look across the team I know everyone is going to turn up for each other every week, and that is a massive part of it.”