Lockers: New experience is key

Wigan Warriors' Jack Higginson in action on his senior debut
Wigan Warriors' Jack Higginson in action on his senior debut

Sean O’Loughlin reckons the recent experience gained by two of Wigan’s young guns could prove invaluable down the line.

Jack Higginson - who turns 19 today - made his Super League debut at centre in Friday’s 28-16 defeat against Warrington.

And another academy product, Nick Gregson, was also in the squad after Shaun Wane was denied the services of seven frontline players through injury.

With Wane’s injury woes expected to ease - Ben Flower and John Bateman should be fit for Sunday’s trip to Wakefield - both of those youngsters may drop out of the frame.

And captain O’Loughlin says the Warriors are in a healthier position now they have had a taste of the first-team environment.

The 33-year-old said: “For Nick and Higgy it’s been a really good experience for them.

“I know, ideally, you want to put them in on your own terms, but sometimes you can’t do that.

“But the fact they’ve had the taste now will benefit them so much.

“Waney now knows he can call on them when he needs them, and when they go in, they know what to expect.

“Nick’s been a backrower in the academy, but he’s played a bit in the halves and he slotted in well there for us when I went off.

“He had a dig and pushed the tempo a bit.”

Wigan were also without Sam Tomkins, George Williams, Micky McIlorum, Anthony Gelling and Dom Crosby against the Wolves.

But O’Loughlin refused to use their absences as an excuse for their defeat, which saw the Wolves take a 22-4 lead into half-time.

“We have got players out but that’s why you have squads for,” he said.

“I thought they out-played us by a mile in the first-half.

“They rolled us, got the better field position and it showed on the scoreboard.

“There was a change in mentality and there were points we could have got into it, but dumb errors cost us.”

Makeshift stand-off O’Loughlin left the action before half-time.

“I just hurt my hamstring, hopefully it’s nothing long term,” he added.