Sean O’Loughlin says he has no regrets about turning down the NRL as he prepares for his milestone 400th appearance for Wigan.
He has had several offers over the years, and he seriously considered a move to Sydney Roosters five years ago - only for his son George to help convince him to stay with his hometown club!
“I know some boys have the ambition to go and play in Australia but my ambition has always been to be successful here,” said O’Loughlin, who will wear a gold 13 on his shirt against Warrington tomorrow night.
“There’s been a few genuine offers over the years where I’ve had to sit down and discuss it with my family.
“Probably the nearest was in 2012.
“I spoke to the Roosters but, when I mentioned it to my boy, he said ‘no chance’.
“It was Waney’s first year and when I spoke to him about it he wasn’t too happy. You can’t be blinkered, you’ve always got to keep your eyes open, especially from the financial side of things. But for me we got to an agreement and I was glad to stay.
“You always wonder but I’ve definitely no regrets. I would have like to have played more games internationally. Some of the injuries I’ve had kept me out of some big games. I would have loved to have been part of some of the earlier World Cups, that’s why I’m really looking forward to this year.”
The England captain was courted by Warrington and Leeds as a youngster but there was never any doubt that he would follow in the footsteps of his father Keiron and uncle Kevin, who both played with distinction for Wigan, as well as brother-in-law Andy Farrell, one of his predecessors as Wigan captain.
O’Loughlin made his debut for his home-town team in 2002 and, although yet to renew his contract for 2018, he is set to finish his career as a one-club man.
My missus wanted to come along and meet Prince Harry, but I told her she couldn’t!
The 34-year-old O’Loughlin will lead England into battle in the World Cup in October but, more immediately has his sights set on helping Wigan maintain their outside hopes of retaining their Super League title.
A third successive win would take the Warriors to within two points of fourth-placed Hull but for ninth-placed Warrington the stakes are arguably even bigger, for defeat on Thursday would condemn them to the Qualifiers.
“It’s a massive game for both sides but, whoever we were playing, it’s about us trying to claw our way up as high into that 8s as we can,” O’Loughlin said. “The points before the split are critical for us.
“We spoke a few weeks back about these games and we’ve picked up a couple of wins, know not playing our best but the last two results have gone our way and we feel there’s still plenty in the tank.
“I don’t see any reason why we can’t kick on in the competition.
“Warrington are still a force on their day and they will be desperate now to get into the eight. We know they are a dangerous team.”
O’Loughlin mingled with royalty last week after being invited to Headingley for rugby league patron Prince Harry’s visit to a Sky Try festival.
“It was good chatting to him,” added O’Loughlin. “He seems a good fella, he’d obviously done his homework on the sport and he’s genuine with his role with rugby league, he was asking about the World Cup - it’s great to have someone of his stature.
“My missus wanted to come along and meet him, but I told her she couldn’t!”