Warrington Wolves coach Tony Smith reckons his side’s proven resilience will see them reach the play-off semi-finals at the second time of asking.
They were hoping to have this weekend off after securing a top-two finish in Super League for the second successive year.
But last Saturday’s opening play-off defeat by St Helens has forced them into a sudden-death tie with Hull at the Halliwell Jones Stadium this evening.
It is almost 18 months since the Wolves last suffered back-to-back defeats and Smith is confident they are not about to blot their copybook now.
“We’re into sudden-death one week before we’d have liked,” he said.
“I’d rather have a kick in the teeth last weekend than in two weeks’ time had we squeezed through on a sub-standard performance.
“From now on, we know we have to perform as well as we can but we dust ourselves off pretty quickly.
“What we’ve been able to do in the last couple of years when we’ve had a performance that we’ve not been quite so pleased with is bounce back with a fairly decent one afterwards.
“I don’t think we’ve suffered too many back-to-backs and we don’t want to be starting now.”
Warrington are seeking to become the first team to complete the league and cup double since St Helens achieved the feat in 2006 and Smith is hoping his side’s proven ability in knock-out football can take them all the way to Old Trafford.
“We’ve been able to do it in a different competition, it’s being able to do it in two different competitions that most teams have found tough for the last number of years,” he said.
“We’re hopeful of being that first one for a while.”
Smith argues that Hull’s 46-6 play-off rout of Huddersfield Giants should be put in context but acknowledges they are starting to find some form.
“Hull were very good, their opponents not so good,” he said.
“It’s hard to gauge but they’ve obviously put it together.
“They’ve had some pretty solid performances and they’ve got some dangerous players.
“They’ll be confident and feeling good about their performance from Sunday.”
Warrington are without the injured England prop Garreth Carvell but Ben Harrison and Chris Bridge are both pushing for recalls.