Sean O’Loughlin is prepared for ‘a battle’ as Wigan look to make amends for their surrender in France last year.
Warriors lost 58-16 to the Dragons last May in what was then the Warriors worst defeat in Super League.
We just need to make sure our focus is the game and once we get there we’re ready to playSean O’Loughlin
But O’Loughlin hopes a change of tack – along with Wigan’s steadily improving form – will produce a very different result on Saturday.
“We had tough day at the office last year there and in the past it’s always been a battle,” he said.
“Even when we’ve won they’ve always been tough, hard games, so we know what to expect.
“But we’re doing it slightly different this year – travelling down on the day.”
In previous years, Warriors have travelled to Perpignan a few days before facing the Dragons, but this year they will travel on the day of the game, taking a smash and grab approach to their aim of two more league points.
And O’Loughlin revealed the decision was suggested collectively as a squad.
“It’s something we spoke about previous to this game – that we were going to try that out,” he said.
“Everyone’s bought into that now so we’ll see how we go, we’ve got a decent bit of form at the minute so we’re going over there playing some good rugby.
“Staff and a few of players put their heads together and discussed what we’ve done and what we did last year.
“Obviously that wasn’t effective for us, so we’re trying something different and seeing how it works. I personally did it for a Challenge Cup round away a good few years ago and it worked well for us then.
“Some of the boys like having a day or two there and some prefer just getting in getting the job done and getting out, so we’ll not make too much of an issue of it. The boys just buy into whatever we decide to do really.”
Wigan have a chequered record on their travels to Catalans. Out of 11 Super League and play-off games over the past 10 years, Wigan have come away with five wins and six defeats. This year, a lot is at stake, as a Wigan win would open-up a four-point gap between them and Catalans, while a reverse would see the Dragons leapfrog Wigan on points difference.
But O’Loughlin is confident sticking to their plan will put Wigan on the right path.
“It’s about trying to keep some of the basics to what you normally do at home and try to take that to the away game and keep as much of your routine as you can,” he said. “We just need to make sure our focus is the game and once we get there we’re ready to play.”