Super League: Wigan Warriors skipper Sean O'Loughlin ready for season opener
Wigan captain Sean O'Loughlin admits his team cannot wait to get started on their Super League title defence.
Last Updated: 03/02/14 2:50pm
The Warriors completed a memorable domestic double at Wembley and Old Trafford last campaign and begin the defence of their league title a week early.
Shaun Wane's men will then be given extra time to prepare for a mouth-watering World Club Challenge against National Rugby League champions Sydney Roosters on February 22 in Australia.
O'Loughlin told Sky Sports News: "It's going to be a tough start, but there's a great opportunity to go to Sydney and play in the World Club Challenge, that's something the boys are really looking forward to and gives us the chance to win silverware right at the start of the season.
The Super League champions lost talisman Sam Tomkins to the NRL and New Zealand Warriors over the close season and O'Loughlin confirmed his absence would be a big gap to fill.
He added: "He's going to be a big loss for us, he's a fantastic player, and was great for us last year and previous years.
"They're big boots to fill in the full-back role. We've brought in Matty Bowen, and we've seen a few glimpses of him at the weekend against St Helens that he's more than capable of filling the position. Not only that but he's capable of bringing something extra to the team as well."
The experienced loose forward was wary of a tricky start for the defending champions against last year's league leader's shield winners Huddersfield.
He said: "(It's going to be) a real tough battle, but it's always good to get started. The boys are hungry to get started in Super League. We're starting a week early and all the lads are keen to be involved.
"Huddersfield are going to be a tough opponents for us. They're a big physical side.
"It's going to be on Sky Sports so it will be a good one to get started on."
And on the World Club Challenge down under later this month, O'Loughlin said: "It's a fantastic opportunity.
"There's a few boys who have played in a World Club Challenge before but to get the opportunity to go over to Sydney to do it makes it even more special.
"To get your hands on the Super League trophy gives you the chance to go over (and) we're looking forward to going over to Australia and giving a good account of ourselves, not only by representing Wigan but giving a good account of the Super League as well."
Man Of Steel and Giants captain Danny Brough was predicting an explosive start to the new season in Wigan.
He said: "It's what you look forward to, playing the big teams. Hopefully both teams can put on a show Friday night.
"It's a big challenge going to Wigan after they did the double last year, they were the best team, so we have to go there with our heads held high.
"It's only round one of the new season but you want to start really well. If we can get our combinations right there's not much of a problem but we've got to go there and play well to get the win."
Watch Super League 2014's opening fixture Wigan v Huddersfield on Friday on Sky Sports HD1 from 19.00