O’Loughlin: Big screen footage fuelling our fire

The Warriors celebrate a try against Huddersfield Giants at the DW Stadium
The Warriors celebrate a try against Huddersfield Giants at the DW Stadium

A SUNDAY afternoon trip to the cinema has provided Sean O’Loughlin with an extra incentive to defend their Super League title.

The Warriors host Warrington in a mouth-watering showdown this Friday night, with the winners progressing to Old Trafford the following week.

Wigan’s triumph at last year’s Grand Final earned them the right to play in the World Club Challenge in Sydney at the start of this year.

On Sunday, O’Loughlin (below) watched a behind-the-scenes documentary of their adventure at the Empire Cinemas, ahead of its nationwide TV release on Thursday.

And the skipper admits reliving the painful memories of their 36-14 loss against the Roosters has fuelled his desire to make amends.

“I didn’t know what to expect but, having watched it, the disappointment of last February came back and it’s made me want to play in it again,” he said.

“We knew we had our backs against the walls going into that matcht.

“If we’d come away and lost but we’d had a good crack at them, we could have at least have held our heads high.

“But we didn’t, we undersold ourselves, and watching the documentary, it makes you want to get involved again.”

Wigan are set to figure in the expanded World Club Series, which will feature two preview games – involving Super League against NRL teams – in the build-up to the World Club Challenge next February.

Both Grand Finalists and the highest-ranked team can take part in the six-team format – meaning Wigan are guaranteed a place unless both they and St Helens lose their semi-finals this week.

Of course, the two expanded games are merely exhibition matches against invited sides from the NRL, ahead of the World Club Challenge – contested by the champions from each league.

Wigan are 160 minutes away from claiming Super League glory, but must overcome Warrington this Friday night to secure their passage to Old Trafford.

The fixture, a repeat of last year’s decider, comes just three weeks after the champions battled back to claim a thrilling 24-20 triumph.

Since then, the Wolves have overcome Widnes and Castleford in the play-offs to reach the last four.

“In the last game we played, they had the first-half and we had the second,” added O’Loughlin.

“Both teams came out happy with parts and unhappy with others, and we’ve both improved. We play different styles but we’re quite evenly matched.”

St Helens host Catalan Dragons on Thursday in the other semi-final.