Competition will drive us on: O’Loughlin

Sean O'Loughlin tackles Pat Richards
Sean O'Loughlin tackles Pat Richards

SEAN O’Loughlin believes the intense competition for places will prevent complacency creeping into Wigan’s performance tonight.

The build-up to the televised match at Huddersfield has been dominated by talk of their opponents’ injury woes.

Luke Robinson has been forced to retire and a clutch of key players are missing, prompting Paul Anderson to draft in emergency cover in the shape of Jamie Foster.

But O’Loughlin hopes their blinkered preparations will ensure they still hit their stride. And with a World Club Series showdown against Brisbane looming, he says none of the players can afford to rest on their laurels.

“It’s early on in the season and everyone is fighting for their places,” said the 33-year-old.

“I don’t think there’s any danger of (complacency).

“Not only that, but we’ve never gone there and had an easy game, so we’ve prepared as if we’re facing their strongest team.

“No matter what side we know got our hands full.”

Wigan beat Catalans 12-6 at the rain-lashed DW Stadium last Friday night, with two Micky McIlorum tries proving decisive.

With the wet-weather easing this week O’Loughlin expects the game to have a different complexion.

“As good as it was to get the win last week, we can’t really comment on the performance because it was a sludge,” he said.

“Hopefully their pitch will be in better nick that ours was last week, we’ll be able to play a bit more and they’ll put us under more pressure defensively.”

Shaun Wane is without Sam and Joel Tomkins, as well as prop Dom Crosby.

But the strength of his suqad is illustrated by the absence of former England prop Lee Mossop from his 19-man squad. He may play for the reserves tomorrow, in a side which could also feature centre Oliver Gildart.