Kevin Naiqama is relishing the Good Friday derby, but despite the Warriors struggling for form at present, he is well aware that our near-neighbours will rise to the derby occasion when Saints come to town.
Our Fiji international centre, Naiqama, experienced a Saints vs Wigan derby, scoring against the Warriors in round one of Super League on his competitive debut as the Red Vee ran out 22-12 winners at the Totally Wicked Stadium.
The powerful centre, arguably had his best game in a Saints shirt in the win over Warrington last week and Naiqama is eagerly relishing the trip to the DW Stadium on Good Friday given the amount of tickets Saints have sold.
“It was a great atmosphere last time out and it is bound to be another great occasion with the amount of fans we are taking over. I learnt about the great derby between Wigan and Saints in my first three months of pre-season as there was a lot of build up to it and to experience it definitely lived up to expectations.”
And despite Wigan’s recent run of results, Naiqama knows Saints will have to be on our game on Friday if we are to come away with the derby spoils.
“I am expecting that same sort of intensity with Wigan even though they are not going so well as they usually do, we know they will always rise to the occasion when the derby comes along and if anyone wants to knock us off our perch it will be them!”
On similar rivalries over in the NRL, Naiqama has compared the derby to the State of Origin between New South Wales and Queensland.
“I would probably say the Origin in regard to the build up to the game. There is nothing as big as two teams hating each other than New South Wales and Queensland so that would probably be the same sort of rivalry, but Saints vs Wigan us up there with one of the best atmospheres I have ever played in!”
Kev, who impressed in the win over Warrington last week is pleased with his recent performances, but is now hoping he can build on those, starting with the derby on Friday.
“For myself, I am still finding my feet in the team and building that relationship, but as the weeks go on, I get more confident in myself and finding where I fit in in the team and where to insert myself into the action. I am pretty happy with my recent performances and the challenge for me is to deliver that every week now.”
Tickets are selling fast for the traditional Good Friday Derby vs. the Wigan Warriors. We have taken a new allocation of tickets in Block ES1 in the East Stand of the DW Stadium (the block closest to the North Stand). Click here for more information.