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O’Loughlin: Squad competition is vital


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  • Sean O’Loughlin stresses the importance of Wigan’s strength in depth ahead of Sunday’s restart game against Wakefield Trinity.
  • The skipper also talks about training at Robin Park Arena, his own experience during lockdown and the new Betfred Super League rule changes.
  • O’Loughlin: “For it to work our way and for us to be successful it’s definitely going to be a squad challenge.”

Skipper Sean O’Loughlin says it will be down to Wigan Warriors’ squad depth if they are to be successful in 2020.

With just six days to go until the Warriors resume their Betfred Super League campaign against Wakefield Trinity, the 37-year-old believes his side can use the size of the squad to their advantage. 

Like all teams, Wigan have 14 league games to play, but a Coral Challenge Cup Quarter Final against either Castleford or Hull FC has now been added to the fixture list after last week’s redraw.

O’Loughlin said: “For it to work our way and for us to be successful it’s definitely going to be a squad challenge. It’ll go down to the need to rotate and rest players. 

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“It’s a pretty competitive squad, so if you were not to come back from lockdown in good condition you’re going to fall down at the back of the queue for games. 

“It’s important everyone came back fit – we’re going to need a big squad for the rest of the year – games are going to come thick and fast and everyone is going to get called on. 

“There’s going to be some short turnarounds and as much as that isn’t ideal – everyone realises why it is like that.

“Everyone is buzzing to be back – we’re grateful to be back and to get the chance to play again.”

😍 A BIG month ahead…

🏉 3 @SuperLeague games
📺 All live on @SkySports #WWRL pic.twitter.com/69heRy1CrX

— Wigan Warriors 🍒⚪ (@WiganWarriorsRL) August 2, 2020

Adrian Lam’s team have been back at Robin Park Arena since 20thJuly and despite their being Covid-19 procedures in place, O’Loughlin admits training remains the same.

“All the guys that have been involved at Robin Park have done a great job. We’re getting tested regularly and everyone is coming back negative up to now. The protocols are in place and keeping everyone safe. 

“Training is very much as normal – everyone has got stuck in. It’s been tough – as we were expecting it to be with just three weeks to prepare for it, but it’s been business as usual.”

Sean-OLoughlin-1024x726.jpg

The Warriors captain also alluded to his lockdown experience, admitting he liked the training aspect.

“Lockdown is something no one has ever experienced before in their lives – spending a large amount of time away from work. You go through different stages – we were training but were unaware of when we could come back – it was a bit difficult. 

“As soon as everyone knew the games were on the horizon, it was easier to pick the training back up again. I enjoyed the training side of it – finding ways to get around it and keeping my fitness levels topped up.”

Last Thursday, referees Robert Hicks and Scott Mikalauskas visited Robin Park Arena and trained with the squad following the new rules changes for the restart. 

All 11 Super League clubs had been given the opportunity and O’Loughlin felt his side benefited from the session. 

👊 @RFLReferees Robert Hicks and Scott Mikalauskas visited Robin Park Arena yesterday and trained with the squad following the new rule changes for the @SuperLeague restart…#WWRL pic.twitter.com/BP5VGQwweH

— Wigan Warriors 🍒⚪ (@WiganWarriorsRL) July 31, 2020

Two of the new changes include the removal of scums and the ‘six again’ rule being introduced – where any offence in the tackle other than foul play – such as lying on in the tackle or interfering at the play-the-ball – would lead to the referee resetting the six tackle count back to zero, rather than giving a penalty. 

“We had the chance to ask a few questions about the rules. We then trained 13 on 13 and they refereed it – it was a really good session. To have a ref calling it and seeing how they would call it in a game was good for us to get our heads round the changes. 

“They’re going to be physically tough – they will put a lot pressure on defences. It’s going to be quite heavy on the lungs and I think it will play a big part at the start of the restart. 

“It comes down to us not conceding penalties – which we talk about a lot – but I think this rule change emphasises it more. I think it can suit us but we have to play the sets right for us to get on the front foot.” 

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The post O’Loughlin: Squad competition is vital appeared first on Wigan Warriors Blog.

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