Wigan Warriors and England captain Sean O’Loughlin is desperate to put his Grand Final misery behind him by leading England to international success over New Zealand this autumn.
O’Loughlin was part of the Wigan side who suffered a narrow 22-20 loss to Leeds Rhinos at Old Trafford three weeks ago as the Warriors slumped to consecutive Grand Final defeats.
The 32-year-old will lead England in a three-match test series against New Zealand starting at the KC Stadium in Hull on Sunday and the loose-forward is keen to taste international success.
“I think the disappointing way I ended the season getting beat at the Grand Final has made me look forward to this series,” said the Wigan skipper.
“I think during Steve’s [McNamara, England head coach] reign we’ve been making big steps forward and I think we’ve continued doing that year on year. We haven’t quite got over the line in terms of silverware yet but we’re hoping to do that this year.”
O’Loughlin is joined in the line-up for Sunday’s clash against the Kiwis by fellow Wigan stars John Bateman, George Williams, Liam Farrell and Joe Burgess and is pleased to see his teammates making a name for themselves on the international stage.
“It’s good to see a lot of Wigan players in the side and to see the players coming through and being involved in the squad.
“It’s always nice to see some of the boys you play with week in week out getting the nod and the chance to put the jersey on as well.
“The young players in the side are going to be around for a few years to come so I think the squad is in a good shape.
“If those boys can keep up their good form, keep playing well and build on their game then in a few years’ time hopefully they’ll still be involved in the England set up which will benefit us.”
The final test will be played at the DW Stadium on Saturday October 14 and O’Loughlin is excited about the prospect of potentially winning the series in front of his home crowd.
“It’s always good when you’ve got the England shirt on to play in front your home fans.
“There’ll be a lot of Wiganers there and it would be a great way to cap the season off if we could be there lifting a trophy.”