Sean O’Loughlin says he has learned a lot from departing Shaun Wane as he takes his own baby-steps into a coaching career.
Captain O’Loughlin has a deal which sees him move onto the club’s staff when he retires and has already been assisting the academy side.
The 35-year-old was disappointed and surprised when Wane told him he would be stepping down at the end of the year.
O’Loughlin has had 10 different coaches during his playing career – at club and Test level – and has taken lessons from Wane’s approach over the years.
“When you look at head coaches, you notice the relationships they have with the players,” he said.
“Because as a head coach you have to deliver bad news as much as good news, and to be able to do that in the right way is a massive part.
“Waney has that balance down to a tee.
“As much as I consider him a good friend, I know he won’t hold back in ripping into me in video if I’ve done something wrong.
“He’s honest with people, he’s straight down the line, and as a player if you get that, you can’t have any qualms.”
O’Loughlin says the players were caught off-guard when Wane broke the news to them all on Monday morning.
“It’s sport, you shouldn’t be, but I was massively surprised – it came completely out the blue,” he said. “Even when he was telling the lads, seeing their reaction, it was quite emotional – he held himself together but you know what the club means to him.
“His decision must have been a tough one to make.
“He loves this club but he’s got to do what’s right for him.
“It’s disappointing we won’t have him around but all we can do is crack on with the year and do as best as we can.”
O’Loughlin echoed Wane’s remarks, that his successor will not need to make major changes – but rather continue the work they have done.
“What we have is working pretty well, we’re producing kids from the academy, we promote, there are loads of things going right here,” he added.
O’Loughlin, meanwhile, will miss tomorrow’s trip to Hull KR with a minor calf injury but is hoping to be fit for the following week’s Challenge Cup quarter-final tie at Warrington.
Thomas Leuluai also misses out tomorrow with a minor arm injury. Josh Ganson has been called up.
Hull KR’s Junior Vaivai has been cleared of any serious injury and could face Wigan at the KCOM Craven Park, while winger Justin Carney is also in contention.
The teams met less than two weeks ago in the Challenge Cup with Wigan running out 28-10 winners. Kick-off is 8pm and the game is not on TV.
Wigan’s 19-man squad: John Bateman, Tony Clubb, Tom Davies, Morgan Escaré, Liam Farrell, Ben Flower, Josh Ganson, Oliver Gildart, Willie Isa, Liam Marshall, Romain Navarette, Sam Powell, Dan Sarginson, Ryan Sutton, Taulima Tautai, Joel Tomkins, Sam Tomkins, George Williams and Josh Woods