Hughes in WCC fitness battle

Jack Hughes in action for Wigan
Jack Hughes in action for Wigan

JACK Hughes is battling to prove his fitness in time to book a spot on the plane to Sydney.

The Super League champions’ date with Sydney Roosters could see Warriors emulate the Wigan side of 1994 which is to date the only British side to win a World Club Challenge on Australian soil in a 20-16 win over Brisbane Broncos nearly 20 years ago.

And the 21-year-old second-rower or centre has admitted the squad are already looking to the February 22 clash at the Allianz Stadium.

“At the minute it’s all aiming on Sydney. That’s the big thing and what we’re training towards. All the hype’s about that at the minute,” he said.

“If we can do that again it will be special.

“There’s already a lot of training based on that game at the minute and talk and videos so that’s our main aim at the minute.”

Hughes is recovering from a shoulder operation but is hoping to be fit in time to prove his fitness as competition for places in the pack hots up.

With the high-profile exit of Harrison Hansen to Salford Red Devils, Hughes is facing competition for against a handful of new faces for a starting spot, as he looks more towards playing in the middle rather than in the backs next term.

Hughes said: “I’m not doing an specific stuff at the moment because of my shoulder op, just rehab, weights.

“I think I am generally looking towards forwards as we’ve lost a few players in the pack so I think I’ll be making up numbers in the pack.

“We have Tony Clubb who can play back row, John Bateman’s come in and he’s an out and out back rower so there will be a lot of competition for those spots.”

Hughes has faith in the reinforcements introduced to the pack and is excited to see how they combine in 2014.

“I’m looking forward to meeting Eddy Pettybourne before we go out to Florida and Dom Crosby’s put some size on this year. He will be a handful next year,” he said.

“We’ve still got Scott Taylor, Gil Dudson so we still have a good side pack even though it might not be as experienced.”

As in previous years, Hughes expects pundits to play down Wigan’s chances of emulating their double-winning exploits in 2013 but the

England Knights representative is confident they can prove doubters wrong once more.

“I think people will do what they’ve done the past two years - write us off.

“It hasn’t done us any harm the last couple of years.

We’ll be good,” he assured.