LIAM Farrell reckons Wigan would have topped Super League last season had it not been for international call-ups.
And he hopes the extended breaks given to the England Test players during this off-season will ensure their 2016 campaign is not hampered.
Shaun Wane gave the five players who figured in the series win against New Zealand an extended break - and Farrell is hoping the rest pays dividends.
The second-rower said: “The big thing was we had nearly seven weeks off, last year it was three weeks, and that’s a massive difference.
“I feel a lot better for it, a lot fresher.”
Wigan, who were edged out in the league leaders’ shield last season on points difference, won only one of their opening five games in 2015 - having had seven players involved in the previous autumn’s Four Nations.
Recent history also suggests the more stars play for England, the worse Wigan have started the subsequent campaigns.
“I never thought anything of it until I was (involved) and you do miss a lot of pre-season, you’re quite a bit behind when you start,” said the 25-year-old.
“Obviously the more players you have in the England team, the harder it’s going to be – and we had the most of any team in the league.
“We need to make sure we find a way of starting pretty well because we’ve not done that for the last few years.
“However that is, we’re going to have to - if we’d have had that (solution) last year I think we’d have probably won the league.”
Wigan’s best starts to recent seasons were in 2010 and 2012, when they won four of their first five games.
They had one and two players respectively involved with England the previous autumn.
Having given the players more time off this autumn, Wane is using a training camp in Wales this week to try and get everyone up to speed. They were due to travel to the Valleys today.