Old rivals Jon Wilkin and Sean O'Loughlin reveal what derby day means

Old foes Jon Wilkin and Sean O'Loughlin
Old foes Jon Wilkin and Sean O'Loughlin
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Few players possess more derby day experience than former St Helens skipper Jon Wilkin and Wigan captain Sean O'Loughlin.

Both agree Good Friday's encounter at the DW Stadium is the biggest showdown in Rugby League with the winners claiming local bragging rights until they next meet, and who knows when that will be.

Second rower Wilkin, now playing in the Championship for title-chasing Toronto Wolfpack following a trophy-laden career at St Helens, said: ''It is a special day for anyone who is lucky enough to put on the red V jersey

''The boys will be fired up and the game is something they will have been thinking about for a few weeks now.''

He added: ''The derby is so special because it’s generally a sell out. The fans create the intensity and, as a result, the quality of the game is always lifted.

“It’s the aggression and passion the fans bring to the 80 minutes and the players show on the field that is exceptional.''

O’Loughlin believes that huge home support is vital if the Warriors are to avenge the 22-12 defeat they suffered at the Totally Wicked Stadium in late January.

The 36-year-old loose forward said: “The atmosphere is what makes the games. It’s normally a key moment in the year when a win can really propel your season and it's awesome to be involved as a player."

On coming face-to-face with the league leaders, O'Loughlin said: “We know we’ve got a tough job on our hands but we are looking forward to the challenge.

“Obviously we are going into it as underdogs as Saints are playing very well while we are coming off the back of a couple of losses.”

He will be hoping the underdogs bite hard!