Lance Hohaia reckons last-gasp comebacks against Huddersfield and Castleford have given Saints the perfect “kick up the backside” ahead of the Good Friday derby.
And the 31-year-old, who was rested last week to enable him to overcome a couple of injury niggles, told how the intensity in training always goes up a notch in Wigan week with everyone aiming to make the match-day squad.
Hohaia, a World Cup winner with New Zealand in 2008, also admits Saints fans have had to wait to see him play his best rugby - but he’s now determined to make up for lost time.
He said: “There’s always a little bit of extra emphasis in training when we’re playing Wigan at the end of the week because of the rivalry between the two towns and the two clubs. But we try to approach it in the same way we would any other and get stuck into each other on the training field.
“We’ve not been at our best in the last couple of games but that’s probably the kick up the backside we needed ahead of the big Easter period. Despite not being at our best, it’s been good to keep up the 100 per cent record though. It just shows the competitiveness and togetherness of the squad.
“I’m happy with my own form. Consistently, it’s the best I’ve played in a Saints shirt. It’s helped that I’m nailed down to one position more this year too. It was just a matter of working hard, persevering and believing in my ability.
“Our forward pack has been doing a great job for us backs and Walshy coming in at half-back to run the team has really helped too.”
Hohaia has barely looked back since Saints coach Nathan Brown admitted to being “heartbroken” at having to leave him out of a match-day squad earlier this season.
But the ex-New Zealand Warriors star insists the competition within the Saints squad can only be a good thing.