JOE Philbin says Saturday’s game against St Helens gives The Wire the perfect chance to send a message to their likely Super League semi-final opponents.

Wolves will be confirmed as travelling to League Leaders’ Shield winners Saints in the play-offs before the two sides meet at The Halliwell Jones Stadium if third-placed Castleford avoid defeat to Wakefield tomorrow, Friday.

Despite there not appearing to be much for either side to play for on paper, Philbin insists The Wire will be at full tilt in their final home game of the season.

“We want to go firing into them on Saturday afternoon. We won’t be taking a backward step,” the Warrington-born prop said.

“We could have them twice in three weeks, which is strange.

“To us, it doesn’t really matter who we get. The other three are all top-quality teams and it’s up to us to produce a performance against them.

“You don’t need any more motivation to play against Saints.

“They have won the League Leaders’ Shield, but we want to be beating the best teams.

“People will be thinking we can rest a load of people. That may be the case for players with really bad knocks, but we really want to be playing full-strength teams when we can.

“We want to be giving it to teams like Saints to let them know that we’re gunning for the semis.”

The Wire’s slim chances of booking a home semi-final were extinguished when they lost 26-6 at Wigan Warriors on Friday.

They unravelled after Tom Lineham was sent to the sin bin with just over 10 minutes left, with the hosts scoring three tries while Wolves were a man down.

Wigan did have a period in which they too were down to 12 men, but The Wire could not use Sam Tomkins’ time on the sidelines to full effect.

Philbin admits his side needs to be doing better in periods such as that if they are to end the season with Grand Final success.

“Wigan reacted to being down to 12 a lot better than we did,” he said.

“We could have been smarter with where we were setting up from and the way we were attacking.

“We’ve learnt from it and that’s the main thing.

“In patches, we’ve been absolutely fantastic.

“The frustrating thing is we’re not doing it week in, week out and that’s what we have to build to.

“When Pricey came in, it took a while to get us all singing from the same hymn sheet.

“I feel like we are getting that now and we’re a tough team to play against.

“We want to build our performances now going into that semi-final.”