Lockers strikes a new balance

Wigan's Sean O'Loughlin

Wigan's Sean O'Loughlin

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SEAN O’Loughlin has taken over some of the first-team coaching duties following Iestyn Harris’ exit.

The skipper is clipping video footage of opponents and will soon begin scouting matches.

Prop Jordan James has also increased his workload as the two players step up his own coaching apprenticeships.

O’Loughlin’s contract includes a move onto the Wigan staff once he hangs up his boots in a few years’ time.

Wane said: “Lockers and Jordan are slowly being brought on board.

“I’ve had a chat to them, they’re still players, but their days will be filled up by clipping games, watching games and travelling, and I’m positive about what they’ll be doing.

“They’ll be in for a shock this year – but it’s a good learning curve for them.”

James was due to take a junior mentoring role this year before being offered a one-year playing deal, while O’Loughlin has already been working with the youth players, and will now assist Wane early in the week as well.

“We’re finding a balance and Lockers’ priority is playing, and when it gets closer to the games, he will have his rest,” he said.

“But after recovery, when the other lads are going home, he’ll be off to watch games elsewhere.

“He’ll be doing first-team, Under-19s, a bit of everything – it’s all good preparation for three or four years down the line.

“He’s coming to the back end of a fantastic career and this way, he can hit the ground running when he retires, he’ll have his badges and have good knowledge.

“It’s good progression for him.”

Harris’ move to Salford was followed by a sweeping promotion throughout the ranks - with second assistant Paul Deacon, head of youth John Winder and junior coach Matthew Peet all stepping up a rung.

O’Loughlin and James have taken up some of the slack as Wigan seek to boost their junior coaching ranks.

“We have a good system in place, all our coaches are stepping up one, and I’m not stressed one bit,” added Wane.

“Deacs had a big influence on what we did last year. I listen to him and trust him a lot. I’m ultra-confident with him as my lead assistant.”