'The greatest': More tributes to Sean O'Loughlin after decision to retire

Sean O'Loughlin has been labelled one of the all-time rugby league greats as tributes continue to be paid following his decision to retire this month.

Saturday, 14th November 2020, 2:50 pm
Updated Sunday, 15th November 2020, 11:10 am
Ryan Hoffman hailed Sean O'Loughlin as one of the top five players he's ever seen or played with

The Wigan and former England captain, 37, confirmed yesterday he will hang up his boots at the end of this season.

Team-mates and opponents, past and present, were quick to hail his contribution to the sport.

Ex-Sydney Roosters and Warrington forward Adrian Morley played alongside him in the Test side.

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He said: "I remember at the time when Sam Burgess and Gareth Ellis were taking the NRL by storm, an Aussie journalist asked me which other Super League players could make an impact Down Under.

"The first name I said was, 'Sean O'Loughlin'. I know Sean is rated by the fans.

"Believe me, you ask anyone who has played with or against him, and they'll rate him even higher. Because they know how good he is, how hard he works, how much difference he makes to the side. He is truly world class and I wish him all the best with the next stage of his career."

Current Wigan team-mate Liam Farrell says that as good as O'Loughlin is as a player, "he's even better as a bloke".

"When I joined the team I looked up to him and now I call him one of my closest mates," said Farrell. "In my opinion he's as good a player and leader as Andy Farrell and Ellery Hanley and rightly joins them in the Hall of Fame.

"There's not many times when Lockers gets things wrong. Even when he did - he's too stubborn to admit it. I'm a pretty stubborn person but I stay away from an argument with Lockers!

"Any end of season Man Monday, you could always rely on Lockers to be one of the last men standing.

"Seriously, though, words don't do justice to how good of a player he's been and I want to congratulate him on an unbelievable career."

Aussie forward Ryan Hoffman, who won the Challenge Cup at Wigan in 2011, said O'Loughlin had had "one of the greatest ever rugby league careers."

Hoffman, who counts Billy Slater, Greg Inglis and Cameron Smith among his former team-mates, said: "He is in the top five players I have seen or had the honour of playing with."

Ex-Wigan pack star Harrison Hansen, now at Toulouse, said: "Lockers is the best player I've played with in my career. He's one of those players that just his presence in the team made you feel at ease because you know he would be leading the way, and he would cover your backside when you needed it.

"He's a legend on and off the field and it's been awesome to have played with him and to know him as a friend."

On Twitter, ex-prop Iafeta Paleaaesina labelled him the 'GOAT' - greatest of all time.

Canberra, England and ex-Warrior stand-off George Williams wrote: "Best player I’ve played with literally can do it all... best drinker, too."

Wigan centre Oliver Gildart said: "Sad to see Lockers retire, been massive for me coming through as a kid - someone I’ve looked up to massively and now get to call him a good mate. Hopefully the boys can send him off with what he deserves."

Hull captain and ex-Wigan prop Scott Taylor wrote: "Unbelievable player, unbelievable team-mate."

Ex-hooker Micky Higham wrote: "One of the very best to play our great game."

Warrington prop Chris Hill wrote: "Absolute honour to say I’ve played with Lockers, absolute legend of our game. He is a true Warrior."

Ex-Wolves forward Ashton Sims wrote: "The words “Great” and “Legend” get thrown around too frequently in this day and age... but this man embodies everything about those two words. A top player that leaves a great legacy. Mad respect."

St Helens tweeted: "We've enjoyed some battles with you over the years and we may just have one final battle with you this season. Congratulations Sean O'Loughlin on a great career for club and country."

Leeds posted a similar message, saying: "Congratulations on an incredible career with his home town club and the national side, a modern rugby league great."