SEAN O’Loughlin was hailed by his team-mates as their captain marvel after celebrating his 300th appearance for the club last weekend.
The loose forward has become the 35th player to pass the milestone since Wigan entered the northern union in 1895, after chalking up his triple-century in the 42-0 win at Salford on Friday night.
Debutant Scott Taylor said: “It was a big night for me, to play my first game for the club alongside Lockers, when he was playing his 300th.
“He’s unbelievable, a great leader and a player. I played against Wigan a few times when I was at Hull KR and he’s one of those players who, when you’re carrying the ball, you have to go in strong otherwise he’ll put you on your backside!
“Since I’ve been here he’s been nothing but helpful and if I can emulate half as much of what he’s done in his career, I’ll be more than happy.
“It’s a pleasure to play alongside him now and I reckon he’s got a lot more years in front of him.”
O’Loughlin, 30, debuted for his hometown club in 2002 and has resisted several lucrative offers to move to the NRL over the years.
He captained the Warriors to Grand Final and Challenge Cup success in 2010 and 2011 respectively.
“My opinion of him is he’s the best loose forward playing the game – including the NRL – and as a captain, he’s fantastic,” said Liam Farrell.
“Reaching 300 games is something I’d love to achieve, and I’m really chuffed for him.”
O’Loughlin’s latest milestone ensures he is already in esteemed company in the club’s history, and he has a chance to climb into the top 20 if he stays free from injury this season, surpassing the likes of his uncle Kevin O’Loughlin (309), Gary Connolly (313) and Kris Radlinski (322).
“He was here when we went through the hard times, and he’s the one who has led Wigan back to competing for trophies again,” said Darrell Goulding, who was involved in the squad which battled the threat of relegation in 2006.
“It’s well documented he could have gone to the NRL. I remember Nathan Brown saying he’s the player the NRL clubs would most want – but he’s stuck loyal with Wigan.
“He’s the one driving the culture of the club.
“He’s a good talker but he’s more about his actions, you know when you take to the pitch with him.
“He’ll do anything for the team and it’s not just us – speak to anyone – every player in Super League respects him.”
WIGAN’S Under-19s beat their Sheffield Eagles counterparts 36-16 on Saturday.