Sean O'Loughlin on the 'good headache' of loose-forward role for 2021

Sean O’Loughlin thinks Wigan have a ‘good headache’ deciding who should replace him at loose-forward.

Monday, 25th January 2021, 1:10 pm
Sean O'Loughlin at Robin Park last week

Several candidates have strong credentials to take over the role from the retired captain.

The returning John Bateman has been handed the No.13 shirt but admits he would prefer to play in the second-row – where Liam Farrell and Willie Isa thrived last season.

Realistically, any of those three could play loose forward while young guns Ollie Partington, Ethan Havard and Morgan Smithies, as well as veteran Tony Clubb, could be other options.

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And so while O’Loughlin has no doubts he made the right call to hang up his boots, he is far less sure about who should succeed him.

“I think there are a few headaches, but good ones,” said the 38-year-old. “Batty is a big signing coming back and a fantastic player, and it’s great for Lammy, having to decide how he’ll fit everyone in.

“Faz and Willie Isa were two of our best last season, and it’s about trying to manage them and get the best players playing together – even if there may have to be some moving positions at first.”

O’Loughlin was regarded as one of the last of the traditional loose forwards but he still sees a future for a ball-playing No.13, even if the role is indistinguishable from prop in many sides.

“I think it’s personnel driven, it depends on what the coach wants and what’s best for the team,” he said.

“Sides can run with another middle but they could also have a ball-player if it suits the team.”