It’s judgement day for O’Loughlin

Wigan Warriors captain Sean O'Loughlin battles through Saints defence
Wigan Warriors captain Sean O'Loughlin battles through Saints defence

TODAY is judgement day for Sean O’Loughlin – for more reasons than one.

The injured skipper will discover at a gala dinner this evening if he has done enough to beat Danny Brough and Jamie Peacock to the 2013 Man of Steel.

But before then, and more importantly, he may learn whether he has a chance of playing in Saturday’s Grand Final against Warrington.

The inspirational skipper will have a protective boot – which he has been wearing for the past four weeks - removed and an Achilles injury scanned.

“I’ll hopefully find out then, whether I can play or not,” he said.

“It’s not that I’m keeping my cards close to my chest, I genuinely won’t have an idea until I see the specialist, and he’s had another look at it.”

O’Loughlin hasn’t played since guiding Wigan to Challenge Cup glory at Wembley in August.

Coach Shaun Wane is keeping his fingers crossed the loose forward will get the green light to return this week, which will be on schedule with the original recovery time-frame to the Achilles tear.

“If I’m not playing it’ll be hard not to be involved, but I’ll be around the group and helping out where I can,” said the 30-year-old, who also has one eye on the end-of-season World Cup tournament.

O’Loughlin was full of praise for his team-mates as they booked a Grand Final spot with a spirited 22-12 victory over Leeds on Friday night.

Shaun Wane’s men led a brutal opening half 6-0, and though the visitors leveled the scores, Wigan finished strongly with three tries before the Rhinos had the final say.

“The lads played really tough, the forwards dominated and the halves really kicked well,” added O’Loughlin.

“To get to a Grand Final is always special, and it makes it more special when you have players leaving because you want them to go out on a high.”