Sean O’Loughlin is confident Super League won’t suffer when new campaign roars into life in three weeks – just two months since the World Cup ended.
Most international players returned to their clubs at the start of this month, with some having had just four weeks’ break since their last match.
And with the new season starting on February 1 – Wigan travel to Salford in their opener the following day – they are cramming in the conditioning and field sessions in training.
Despite that, O’Loughlin has few complaints about the punishing schedule and doesn’t think fans will notice an impact.
“Individually we’ll be a bit behind the eight ball - we’ll feel it!” he said.
“But game-wise, you’ll probably not see (an mpact).
“It’s not much time, coming back in January and only having four weeks of a pre-season.
“You’re a bit under-done.”
By contrast, the new NRL season starts on March 8 – five weeks after Super League begins.
And while he admits it is less than ideal, the England skipper says he is happy to make a concession to be involved in a World Cup, which finished on December 2.
“It’s not that the clubs don’t want to give you more time off – but any longer, and players would coming back-in two weeks before the start of the season,” added the 35-year-old.
“From the World Cup ending to the first game of Super League, it’s not a long time, and it’s not much of a break for the international players.
“But usually this isn’t the case, with the other international (tournaments) there’s more space in between.
“A World Cup is different and you’re happy to make an exception to be involved.”