Wigan Warriors captain Sean O'Loughlin warns team-mates to be braced for 'strong, fast and fit' Roosters

Sean O'Loughlin
Sean O'Loughlin

Sean O’Loughlin is embracing the “special” feeling as Wigan aim to make rugby league history this weekend.

The Warriors are aiming to become the first team to claim FIVE World Club Challenge victories when they face Sydney Roosters.

And if they win, O’Loughlin - who guided them to glory against Cronulla two years ago - would become the first person to captain Wigan to two World Club Challenge triumphs.

Ellery Hanley (1987), Andy Gregory (1991) and Shaun Edwards (1994) were previous skippers.

And the 36-year-old is well-aware of the historical significance of Sunday evening’s showdown.

“There aren’t a lot of stars on the badge, so the chance to add one is special,” he said, nodding to the four stars above the Wigan crest to represent their WCC triumphs.

“Whenever you get a chance to play in these games, you get a buzz - not so much the captaincy, but just to be involved.

“The Challenge Cups and Grand Finals are big, but you don’t get many chances to win the World Club Challenge, so it has a special feel to it.”

He believes their victory over Cronulla Sharks two years ago - which ended a 23-year wait for the title - will help fuel the confidence of Wigan’s players, particularly those who have not competed at Test level.

“In these games, there’s an element of our lads giving them too much respect sometimes,” said the 36-year-old. “I think if you’ve not played international there’s the fear you can put them on a pedestal.

“But we’ve got a lot of lads who’ve played in these games as well as internationals and so there’s nothing to fear.”

O’Loughlin, who led Wigan out against the Roosters five years ago, acknowledges the quality of their opponents but says the secret to overcoming them isn’t by changing their style - but playing their own game under high-pressure conditions.

“At international level you’re playing under more fatigue because your opponents are generally stronger, faster and fitter, and the plays are crisper,” he said.

“So we will play how we want to play but it’s about nailing everything and making sure everything is crisp.

“They’re a class side, we know that. I just think for ourselves it’s a good opportunity to play against some world class players and show what we’re about as a club, what Super League’s about and fly the flag.

“It’s exciting and you don’t get many chances to have a crack at sides like this and name yourselves World Club Champions.”