Wigan skipper Sean O’Loughlin insists the Super League champions can still defend their title


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Warriors can break into the top four with a win at Hull

SEAN O’LOUGHLIN insists Wigan still believe they can defend their Super League title.

The Warriors have just three matches to make the top four, then they will have to win the semi-final to make the Grand Final at Old Trafford.

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Wigan’s Sean O’Loughlin is adamant they can still defend their title

That is likely to mean a trip to either runaway League Leaders’ Shield winners Castleford or Leeds.

But Wigan skipper O’Loughlin is adamant that no-one is writing anything off yet.

He said: “We are obviously proud of what we did last season and we did that from a pretty tough starting point in the Super 8s.

“As long as we’ve still got a chance to do it, and it’s still in our hands, then we don’t see any reason why we can’t.”

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Wigan would take a massive stride towards the semi-finals by avenging their Challenge Cup final defeat by Hull tonight.

The pain of losing 18-14 is still raw among Shaun Wane’s players but they bounced back by winning at St Helens last week.

And O’Loughlin believes they showed exactly what it will take to crash into that top four.

The loose forward added: “We knew we had to be at it to come with a win, regardless of Wembley.

Hull FC captain Gareth Ellis, left, and Wigan Warriors skipper Sean O'Loughlin pose with the Challenge Cup trophy

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Hull and Wigan go head to head in a rematch of the Challenge Cup final

“It was a good one for us because derbies against Saints are always emotional affairs.

“I was pleased with the lads’ response because everyone has responded to the coaches.

“It’s not so much about owing Hull one because this is a different competition now.

“Hull deserved to win at Wembley and you can’t take that away from them but the remaining games for us now are about us getting in that top four.”

Wigan Warriors are current World Club champions after winning Super League last year

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Wigan Warriors are current World Club champions after winning Super League last year

Hull will be without skipper Gareth Ellis and winger Steve Michaels after they received one-game bans.

And Fetuli Talanoa may also be out, despite being included in the squad after denying Leeds a try AFTER sustaining an arm injury.

The winger said: ““I went in for a tackle with Carlos Tuimavave and I had my arm open and managed to hyper-extend my elbow.

“I was in so much pain but when I looked up and saw the overlap I wasn’t going to let the boys down. The game wasn’t over so I just had to do everything I could and knocked the ball out.

Hull beat Wigan 18-14 to win the Challenge Cup on Saturday

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Hull are the current Challenge Cup winners after beating Wigan at Wembley

“The only thing I was thinking in that moment was to not let the team down. I just had to get there and my injured arm was the closest one there so I just had to swing it. Afterwards I was in a lot of pain.

“It’s only a tear in the muscle and the ligament. It was the best result possible really as it wasn’t a break.”

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