WIGAN coach Shaun Wane says his team will be “pumped” as they prepare to celebrate the 350th appearance of popular skipper Sean O’Loughlin.
England captain O’Loughlin, who made his Warriors debut as a substitute against Hull in April 2002, will reach the milestone in Sunday’s Super League game at Huddersfield and the club have plastered specially-printed posters over the walls of the club’s training base at Orrell to mark the occasion.
350 games for a player who plays like him is outstanding. It’s a lot of games for a bloke who plays so aggressively and throws his body into itShaun Wane
They will also warm-up in special T-shirts saluting O’Loughlin’s milestone.
“It’s special,” said Wane. “It’s all over the club. It means a lot to everybody here and the lads will be pumped this weekend.
“350 games for a player who plays like him is outstanding. It’s a lot of games for a bloke who plays so aggressively and throws his body into it.”
The 32-year-old O’Loughlin succeeded his brother-in-law Andy Farrell as Wigan captain and led England in the 2014 Four Nations Series.
Wane rates the loose forward alongside other home-grown internationals Michael McIlorum, who made his 200th appearance for the club at the Magic Weekend, and Sam Tomkins as among the best players he has coached.
“He’s right up there, along with Micky and Sam,” Wane said. “They’re great players, I wouldn’t like to name one but he’s definitely up there.
“He’s a great individual, smart, easy to coach and ultra-critical of himself. He’s provides a massive lesson to young kids who arrogantly think they’ve done everything.
“That’s why when people like Ryan Hoffman and Brett Finch go back to Australia, the one player they mention is him. It’s the fact that he’s very humble that makes him so special.”