Warriors urged to bring World Club trophy home

Wigan Warriors captain Sean O'Loughlin, gets on board the coach, as fans gather outside DW Stadium to see the team set off to take part in the World Club Challenge in Australia
Wigan Warriors captain Sean O'Loughlin, gets on board the coach, as fans gather outside DW Stadium to see the team set off to take part in the World Club Challenge in Australia

SEAN O’Loughlin recognises he has a ‘massive opportunity’ in front of him in the World Club Challenge against Sydney Roosters.

The Warriors captain will do as no other Super League skipper has done before and lead an English side in the decider on Australian soil when he steps out at the Allianz Stadium on February 22.

The last English side to play a World Club Challenge Down Under were the Wigan side of 1994, before the dawn of Super League, and O’Loughlin wants to create more comparisons to the 20-14 win over Brisbane Broncos than just Wigan’s underdog tag.

“You look at the teams who have done it in the past and their names are in the history books,” said O’Loughlin.

“You don’t get many chances to play in these games – even more so in Australia so it’s even more of a challenge and if we win it will be an even greater achievement.

“I don’t remember watching the game in 1994 but I remember who played in that game and how highly they are regarded by the fans who played in it.

“It’s the kind of backs against the wall mentality you come up against in Australia and we’re all going to be playing a fantastically great side – it’s a big one to climb but it’s a mouth watering prospect.”

O’Loughlin missed Wigan’s 24-8 defeat at the hands of Huddersfield Giants on Friday after pulling-up in the warm-up with a thigh problem but is expected to feature on Wednesday against New Zealand Warriors.

And although he was disappointed to see his side lose before their big send-off on Saturday as they embark on their historic journey, O’Loughlin wants the players to quickly shrug off the result.

“We were disappointed with that performance and that result but we have a big two weeks ahead of us now so we have to put that behind us and concentrate on doing a big job in Australia,” he said.

“It was frustrating not to be out there but that just happens sometimes.

“You train all pre-season and you want to be part of that first game but I picked-up a bit of a pull in the friendly against Saints and it has reacted a bit sore.”

O’Loughlin’s last two Warriors games have been the Challenge Cup Final at Wembley and October’s Grand Final triumph over Warrington Wolves.

The 31-year-old played for England in last Autumn’s World Cup and laughed as he reflected on his next Warriors outings being landmark fixtures.