THE Wire will have to get used to playing – and beating – Wigan Warriors if they are to be successful, prop Sitaleki Akauola says.

Saturday’s Magic Weekend clash is the first of two games between the sides in as many weeks.

The Wire were drawn to face their neighbours again in the quarter-finals of the Challenge Cup at The Halliwell Jones Stadium on June 2.

With The Wire sitting third in Super League ahead of Saturday evening’s meeting at St James’ Park – two points and one place behind the Warriors, Akauola says his teammates are confident in overcoming any challenge.

“Everyone here talks about games against Wigan. It’s a big one,” he told the Guardian.

“It will be good for us to challenge ourselves against a team like them.

“The team we have now is up for any challenge, so we look forward to it.

“They are one of the best teams over here. If we want to be the best, we have to play Wigan a lot and beat them a lot too.”

Having spent his whole career prior to this season in Australia with Wests Tigers and Penrith Panthers, Saturday will be the Tonga international prop’s first experience of Magic Weekend.

He says one teammate in particular has been talking up the excitement of the rugby league extravaganza on Tyneside.

“Ben Murdoch-Masila can’t stop talking about it,” he said.

“For the past couple of weeks, he’s been saying ‘wait until Magic Weekend, you’ll love it.’

“It got me a little nervous in some ways, but I can’t wait to get out there and experience it.”

On Sunday, Akauola helped The Wire to a 66-10 win over Championship leaders Toronto Wolfpack to book their last-eight clash with the Warriors.

The game was ill-tempered at times, with the Canadian side having three players sin-binned and Andrew Dixon sent off as they finished on the wrong side of a 16-8 penalty count.

Akauola says the manner of The Wire’s victory was a demonstration of the confidence within their ranks.

“It was a challenge for us not to fall for their tactics, but it was good in the end,” he said.

“We were waiting for the opportunity to play our game and we got that in the second half.

“We’ve got heaps of confidence at the moment.

“Kev and Tyrone are merging together well at the moment, the forwards are doing their jobs and the backs are finishing it off.

“I guess it’s a win-win for everyone right now.

“Everyone is knuckling down and playing their part, I am just glad to play mine too.”

The 25-year-old has become a popular figure with the supporters during his time at The Halliwell Jones Stadium as a result of his powerful carries and impact off the bench.

Akauola says he is simply repaying them for making the adjustment to life in Warrington so simple.

“I’m settling in great, it’s been easy for me,” he said.

“The guys are great here and there’s a really good atmosphere around the team.

“The people and the fans have been great too. Everyone has been very welcoming to me.

“I’m just happy I’m doing my bit to repay them out there on game day.”