Sean O’Loughlin is confident the World Club Challenge will not be a distraction when Wigan launch their Super League campaign next week.
The Warriors travel to Salford next Saturday in the first game of the regular season, just eight days before they host the NRL champions Cronulla Sharks.
Teams can often dip the week before a Challenge Cup Final and while O’Loughlin admits the WCC will be in the back of their minds, he doesn’t see any danger of complacency.
“I don’t think so,” he said. “I know it can happen before Wembley, but the World Club is different to a normal final.
“And with it being at the start of the year, we need a good run-out to prepare ourselves for that game.
“There’ll be no tip-toeing through it, you want a tough game to get your body ready for what’s to come.
“We want a good start to the league, and we know Salford are a good side, but it’s also about getting ready for the week later.”
O’Loughlin helped launch the new campaign by appearing with comedian Johnny Vegas in a Sky Sports promo.
“It was great to see him work, not just how funny he is but how professional he is, too. It was hard to stand there with a straight-face!” said the Wigan captain.
“He was saying he still tries to get to many of the Saints games so he’s obviously a big fan - I don’t think it took him too much persuasion to get him involved.”
O’Loughlin’s former Wigan team-mate Jeff Lima confirmed yesterday he will hang up his boots at the end of this season.
The Kiwi prop won the Lance Todd Trophy as man of the match in Wigan’s Wembley triumph in 2011.
He later played for Souths and Catalans before joining current club Canberra Raiders.