The play-offs start this weekend for Warrington Wolves, according to fullback Stefan Ratchford.
Having lost six consecutive Super League games either side of their successful Challenge Cup campaign, the Wire have surrendered their commanding position in second place to face an almighty scramble just to make the end-of-season play-offs later this month.
They finish the regular season with games against Wakefield and Leeds, and Ratchford told League Express that for the Wolves, the play-off mentality starts right now, after their 26-4 defeat against Salford on Thursday night, when they host Wakefield Trinity at the Halliwell Jones Stadium on Friday night.
He said: “Our play-offs start this weekend. We’ve got to repeat the game plan and form we’ve shown in the Challenge Cup games.
“We trained once since Wembley going into the Salford game and we knew we were going to be clunky. We’re not here to make excuses but we’ve played a lot of rugby in a short space of time and we’ve got an eight-day turnaround between games now, so I think we’ll be ready for our final two games hopefully moving towards the play-offs.”
Ratchford also insisted that while Warrington’s league form has been abysmal, the performances against both Hull FC and St Helens in the latter rounds of the Cup underline that they should not be written off so quickly when it comes to the Grand Final.
“I’m not trying to make excuses, but the way the scheduling has been over the last few weeks, we’ve had to rest people up,” he said.
“Hopefully coming into the back end now, most players have had a rest and going into Wakefield, however many big games we’ve got left, hopefully we can go out there and give it our all.
“People are writing us off because we’re in a slump, but in between these league losses we’ve beaten Hull FC and St Helens in knockout games. We’re not completely out of form, you’ve seen that in the Cup run.
“In the last six weeks we’ve had at least two four-day turnarounds. They’re easy excuses to make, I know that, and we’ve got to be better, but with a big break now I think we’ll get the chance to bring some guys back into the fold.”