SEAN O’Loughlin has declared himself fit and raring to go for the Challenge Cup Final
The Warriors’ skipper missed the defeats to Huddersfield and Catalan Dragons due to a leg injury, but full-back Sam Tomkins and half-back Matty Smith both featured against the Dragons after their injury absences.
Despite not having any game-time to get back to action, O’Loughlin doesn’t think he’ll have any problems finding his feet in front of the Wembley crowd.
“If you are playing your best or your worst rugby going into it, you can switch it round and see what you can dish up on the day,” said the 2011 Cup winner.
“I think for us we will take the 80 minutes as it comes and we are confident we can put in a good performance.”
To say the news O’Loughlin is fit to play his role in his second Challenge Cup final as Warriors captain is an understatement.
His influence is undeniable – of the five game Wigan have lost since June 24, O’Loughlin has been absent from all of them.
Being match-fit should be all the convincing coach Shaun Wane needs to throw his captain into the mix, and his addition to the side should provide desperately-missed direction.
And with a handful of players in the Wigan squad, such as Smith and Logan Tomkins who have yet to grace the national stadium, O’Loughlin has already issued a dose of advice.
“For any final it is your routine of the week, trying to not let the occasion get the better of you,” he said.
“On the day itself, it’s a great feeling walking out in front of 80,000 people and it’s about enjoying that, but once the kick off comes it’s all about getting the mental approach bang on.
“The boys who play now want to draw level with that and the boys who played in 2011 and got the win –the occasion was fantastic and the lads really want that again.
“It’s a great occasion to get to Wembley itself and also the hope of getting your hands on the Challenge Cup is a great incentive.”
He also doesn’t think Wigan’s Super League form will have any bearing on Saturday’s result as Hull FC may sense a chance to cause a great Cup upset.
The Airlie Birds have won their last three Super League games which will give them confidence going into their second final in five years.
“Once the Super League game the week before is done and dusted you put that to bed and build up to Wembley,” O’Loughlin added.
If the Warriors win it will be a record-extending 19th Challenge Cup success.