Danny McGuire: Wigan were strong but we were far from magic

New Wakefield Wildcats coach Brian Smith.

New Wakefield Wildcats coach Brian Smith.

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WHAT A disappointment last weekend was for us as a team.

We went to Newcastle feeling well-prepared and confident, but it was one of those games when we just did not perform on the day.

As I wrote in this column last week, the Magic Weekend feels like a bigger game than normal and when you play in big games, you want to win them.

We had a lot of support in the stadium and our fans were fantastic, as ever, but we didn’t reward them with the sort of performance we were after.

We all came away hugely disappointed, but I hope it didn’t spoil the weekend for the fans too much.

Obviously we didn’t get to see much of what was going on in the city or around the stadium, but from what I’ve heard, it sounds like it was a fantastic occasion.

Apart from being part of Magic Weekend, it was a big game for us in the table. We are right back in the pack now and if Saints beat Salford tonight, which on current evidence you’d expect, we’ll be off top spot, until Sunday at least.

We know we are capable of playing a lot better, but I want to give credit to Wigan. They were on the back of a disappointing game at Catalans the week before and they turned it around, which is what good teams do.

They played well, were strong in defence and took their chances. I thought we were miles off from what we’ve been doing this year.

Defensively some of the stuff we did was really disappointing and we had a bit of a nightmare with the ball as well.

I think we lost the energy battle a little bit, which is unusual for us. Wigan dominated us, they seemed to run harder and tackle harder and sometimes it is as simple as that.

The game’s not very complicated at times – you just have to run hard and tackle hard and last week they did that better than us.

Wigan have shown you can bounce back from a bad defeat. They had 58 points put on them in Perpignan and it’s never nice when that happens to you.

Sometimes that acts as a bit of a catalyst to get back into it and I’m sure they used it as a bit of motivation, but we should have been able to cope with that.

There’s lots to work on and we know we will have to be a lot better if we are going to stay where we want to be on the table.

When we were six points clear we weren’t looking at the league position and it’s the same now.

We just want to control what we can control and make sure we get our own game right. If we improve and we perform better, everything else will take care of itself.

What we put on the field last week wasn’t good enough and we’ve got our heads down this week and been focusing on putting things right for Sunday.

I know Wakefield have been having a tough time this year, but they are going to get back to winning ways at some point and we have to make sure it isn’t against us.

They have got some good players and they always seem to give us a tough game at their place.

With a new coach coming in they will want to impress. Apparently Brian Smith will be at the game and I am sure he’ll have a positive effect on them.

He’s a really experienced coach with a lot of knowhow from the NRL and he did well when he was over here before, with Hull and Bradford.

Obviously I know all about his brother, Tony, and if what he does is anything to go by, he will definitely improve them.

I hope he does, because I always enjoy playing at Wakefield, I have got some good friends there and I hope they stay in Super League, but not after breaking their losing run at our expense.

Finally, on the Magic Weekend, I hope it stays in Newcastle next year. It’s an excellent stadium. I watched a bit of the Hull derby in the game before ours and the atmosphere was really good.

It is a top-class venue and I’m looking forward to hopefully going back there next year and getting a better result.

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For today’s column I’ve tried to find out a little more about my in-form team-mate Zak Hardaker as he goes into the hotseat to answer my 10 questions.

Zak joined us in 2011 from Featherstone Rovers and in my opinion he has developed into one of – if not the best – full-back in Super League.

He picked up an ankle injury last week against Wigan, but hopefully that’s nothing too serious because he was absolutely outstanding in that game.

Zak is a really good lad and I reckon he could go on to prove himself one of the best in the world if he keeps progressing the way he has done over the last few years.

If you’ve got any questions for the Rhinos players, email me via peterj.smith@jpress.co.uk or you can contact me on Twitter via @DannyMcguire6

1: What’s your favourite food?

Chinese.

2: Favourite holiday destination?

Cancun, Mexico.

3: Dream car?

Lamborghini Aventador

4: Favourite away ground?

KC Stadium.

5: Toughest opponent?

Wigan.

6: Best rugby league moment?

My try in the 2011 Grand Final.

7: Favourite joke:

What’s black and white and read all over? A newspaper.

8: Favourite sport other than rugby league?

Football.

9: TV programme?

Sons of Anarchy or Only Fools and Horses.

10: Funniest team-mate?

Robbie Ward.

Tom Briscoe

Leeds Rhinos: I will bounce back from poor show – Briscoe