McIlorum keen to impress Bennett

Wigan Warriors hooker Michael McIlorum admits it would be ideal to show England coach Wayne Bennett what he can do when he faces his club side this weekend.

McIlorum’s Wigan face Bennett’s Brisbane in game two of the 2016 World Club Series at the DW Stadium on Saturday night, in a rematch of the game the Broncos won in extra time last year.

And McIlorum told League Express that he still harbours a strong desire to play for England, and that he’s hopefully able to catch Bennett’s eye in the coming weeks.

“It wouldn’t do any harm to play well during the time that he’s over here so that I can show him what I’m capable of,” he said.

“It’d be nice and obviously ideal to put in a good showing whilst he’s over here with Brisbane and playing against us, but it’s a long old season and one good game doesn’t make a campaign. My aim is to play well all year and have a big season, not just put all my effort into one game against Brisbane.

“I definitely still have the ambition to represent my country again; I’ve had a bit of bad luck with injuries at the end of the year. I missed the Grand Final in 2014 because I fractured an eye socket, and if I’d played in that game I could have gone blind, so I had to miss that one.

“I had a bone graft at the end of last season so I have been unfortunate to miss out, so hopefully I can stay injury-free this year and force the coach’s hand and hopefully my form will dictate me getting a call-up.”

After having operations late in the year for the past two years, McIlorum is hoping an extended off-season and shorter pre-season will help him be firing for the entirety of the 2016 campaign.

“I had an operation in the off-season; I missed a fair bit of pre-season but I don’t think that’s a bad thing.

“It was nice to have a full six weeks and give myself a big break and the best possible chance of being completely fit for the whole of the season.

“I’m sure I’ll feel the benefit of that break later in the year.”