Maguire stands by blackout
Wigan coach wants no distractions ahead of Dragons clash
Last Updated: September 20, 2011 3:40pm
Wigan coach Michael Maguire has defended his decision to impose a media ban on his players ahead of Sunday's Super League play-off clash with Catalan Dragons.
The Warriors declined all interview requests with members of their squad on the instruction of Maguire, who fronted reporters on his own at Tuesday's press conference at the club's Orrell training base.
"It's an important week for us," he said. "We just want to make sure that our focus is completely on this game.
"It's a massive game and we want to make sure we're doing everything right."
Wigan's Super League title will go on the line against the Catalans following their home defeat by St Helens in last Sunday's qualifying play-off.
That 26-18 loss denied the champions the chance of a first free weekend of the season but Maguire dismissed suggestions that his team were looking tired against Saints.
The Warriors have lost two of their three matches since beating Leeds in the Challenge Cup final at Wembley.
"It's more yourselves (the media) who are making an issue of the tiredness," Maguire said. "If you look at the other team (Leeds) that played in the same game, they're doing quite well.
"That's three or four weeks back and we're looking forward to what's in front of us. It's in our hands. We had a good time (after Wembley) but it's now about us focusing on the finals.
"We just want to make sure that our focus is completely on this game."
Michael Maguire Quotes of the week
"We've got a big opportunity against Catalans this week to try to get to Old Trafford.
"We've been rolling players around throughout the year - the players have been freshened up at the right time - and we're lucky we've got a good long turnaround so we'll have plenty of rest this week."
Maguire has hinted at making changes for the visit of the Dragons, who have completed the league double over Wigan this year.
"We'll have a look at the combinations," he said. "There are certain people who probably didn't perform to their capabilities last weekend. We'll assess that at the back end of the week."
Wigan have a doubt over prop Ben Cross, who experienced some discomfort in the Saints match from the forearm he broke only five weeks earlier, and back rower Ryan Hoffman, who went off on Sunday with a back spasm.
Maguire could have the services of front rower Lee Mossop, who has recovered from the shoulder he dislocated at Wembley but missed last Sunday's game with a hamstring twinge.