MATTY Ashurst is not digging out the calculator as Wigan try to pull off a mathematical miracle – for him it is child’s play.
And should the Warriors’ defence of their Super League crown end today, club legend Andy Farrell could claim some of the responsibility.
Shaun Wane’s men must win by 91 points to throw St Helens out of the top four at the death.
But not only will they have to defy logic, they will have to beat one of their own as Wakefield back-rower lives close to their training ground.
Ashurst played in the same junior side as opponent Liam Farrell and was a boyhood Wigan fan, with a certain number 13 his idol.
And he is surprised the numbers are stacked against them going into the final Super 8s clash.
Ashurst said: “I live two minutes’ drive from where Wigan train and I was a Wigan fan as a kid.
“Andy Farrell was the player I always looked up to, he was my big idol and is one of the reasons I decided to play back row.
“I played a lot of different positions, literally a bit of everywhere including stand-off, when I was at Wigan St Patrick’s alongside Liam Farrell when I was about nine-years-old.
“But as I grew up, I decided that playing back row was the best for me. It all seems a long time ago now!
“I’m expecting a reaction from them today after last week. With Castleford missing a couple of players, people maybe expected Wigan to win on Sunday.
“But they got beat and now it’s all on this game.”
Ashurst, 27, and Wakefield cannot make the semi-finals but no-one can deny that it has not been a fine season for Trinity, on and off the field.
This week plans for a £12 million redevelopment of their dilapidated Belle Vue ground were announced, moving an end to their long-running stadium battle that much closer.
But even though he has been one of their stand-out performers, Ashurst believes he can get even better – and the last two defeats to Hull and St Helens, by a total of three points, have intensified that desire.
He added: “I’m always wanting to get better and I’m trying to do that.
“The last two games have been very frustrating, I’m still hurting now and may do for a few weeks.
“But in the bigger picture, we’ve come a long way this season. We want to be where we are next year but pushing even harder for a top four place.
“Not many people expected us to be where we are but we spoke in pre-season that we could do something special.
“The big thing for us now is to kick on, we don’t want this year just to be a one-off and hopefully we can build on it.”
St Helens’ 30-4 win at Salford on Thursday makes a semi-final place for Wigan improbable.
But winger Joe Burgess can at least take consolation from the fact his World Cup dream is still alive, despite suffering a hamstring injury against Castleford.
Scans have showed the damage is not as severe as was first feared and he should be available for England, if selected.
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