12 July 2023

Matt Peet insists Wigan can turn last-gasp defeat to Wakefield into a positive

12 July 2023

Wigan head coach Matt Peet has backed his side to emerge stronger from last week’s agonising golden-point defeat to Betfred Super League whipping boys Wakefield.

The Warriors look to re-ignite their play-off hopes against neighbours Warrington on Friday having endured a week of tough soul-searching on the back of the dramatic 27-26 loss.

Peet’s men led three times at Belle Vue, including by eight points late in the second half, before Trinity scrambled level and Will Dagger’s extra-time kick secured the precious win for the bottom side.

It was an uncharacteristic performance in what has been a relatively consistent season for Wigan and Peet admitted: “It was important the players and staff took it hard and understood it was one we got wrong.

“If we’d been more hard-nosed and ruthless in the last 10 minutes, we might have got away with the two points, and I’m confident if we get put in the same position this week, we’ll manage the game better.

“You have to learn some lessons that hurt sometimes. You wish you didn’t have to go through that process, but if the outcome is a hungrier and more intelligent team, then we can turn it into a positive.”

Wigan’s shock loss saw them slip to fourth in a congested league table, better off by points difference than Friday’s opponents, the early pace-setters whose season has come off the rails following five defeats in their last six league games, albeit showing a marked improvement in last week’s tight loss to St Helens.

You wish you didn't have to go through that process, but if the outcome is a hungrier and more intelligent team, then we can turn it into a positive

The Warriors, who have a Challenge Cup semi-final against Hull KR next week, have also announced a new four-year deal for homegrown hooker Brad O’Neill, who has made an increasing impact of late in a position in which Peet is not short of options.

“This is the only place I want to be and I’m glad to be here for the next four years,” said the 20-year-old, who came through the club’s scholarship and academy systems.

“I won the Challenge Cup last season and my dream is to win more with this club. Last week was a really tough game but we came back in on Monday and learned some really harsh lessons.

“You can take positives from learning how to play in those different kinds of pressure moments. We’ll learn massive amounts from last Friday and hopefully we’ll take it forward into these big games that are coming up.”

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