O’Loughlin nearing England return

England captain Sean O’Loughlin is inching closer to his return from injury – and could even be fit to face Australia this Sunday, according to Wigan teammate Matty Smith.

O’Loughlin missed the opener against Samoa last time out due to a niggling injury, and wasn’t named in Steve McNamara’s initial team for the game earlier this week.

However, Smith says the skipper has trained well all week, and admitted having him out there would be a huge boost for England ahead of such an important game.

“He’s confident, he’s trained well this week,” Smith told BBC Radio Manchester.

“He’s our captain and he’s an important player for us. We want him out there on the field. “Having him back, plus the likes of James Graham with Sam and Joel Tomkins playing in that middle – it’s a pretty big pack.

“Hopefully Sean can lead us out on Sunday.”