7th February 2018, 12:56 | Wigan

O'Loughlin fit for historic clash

O'Loughlin fit for historic clash

Sean O’Loughlin is fit to lead Wigan Warriors in Saturday’s historic Betfred Super League match against Hull FC in Australia.

The 35-year-old missed Wigan’s 40-12 win over Salford Red Devils with a calf problem but the England captain is ready to make his first appearance since the World Cup semi-final at Wollongong’s WIN Stadium.

Winger Joe Burgess is in contention after overcoming the thigh issue that forced him to sit out last week’s opener while second-rower John Bateman is making good progress in his recovery from a hand injury.

Wigan head coach Shaun Wane said: “John Bateman will play against South Sydney, Budgie trained today and is fit and so is Lockers.

“Everybody has trained today so I’ve got a full squad to pick from.

“I’ve got three good wingers and I’ll pick the two I’m most comfortable with. Lockers coming back means a middle will have to miss out.

“I’ll have a good think about it overnight and pick my team tomorrow.”

The clash in New South Wales is the first Super League match to be staged outside Europe and while Wane wants to put on a show for the locals, he is more concerned about righting past wrongs.

“We want to put a fantastic spectacle on with Wigan and Hull, two great clubs with great history,” he added.

“My driving force is the last time we were here playing against the (Sydney) Roosters (in 2014) we were poor and undersold ourselves. I want people to see Wigan back at their best and show them what we can do.

“I’m still hurting from the Challenge Cup (final) loss last year and we want to put it right.

“Those are the things that are motivating me.

“If both teams play well on Saturday, the NRL is going to see Super League in a great light.”

Both Wigan and Hull are staying on in Australia to play trial matches against South Sydney Rabbitohs and St George Illawarra Dragons respectively at the Allianz Stadium on Saturday week.

The Warriors have lost several players to the NRL in recent years but Wane is relaxed about his squad being in the shop window.

“It doesn’t bother me in the slightest,” he said.

“When Sam (Tomkins) went to New Zealand Warriors, I got it. If someone leaves us, we’ll make another one.

“We have an unbelievable youth set-up with some great kids coming through. I have every faith in that, like when Blake Green left and I put George (Williams) in. Without a shadow of a doubt that’s the best move I’ve ever done.

“I never get stressed about that. If any club want to have a look at my players, I’ll do my best to keep them but if it’s impossible we’ll just crack on and make another player.”