SEAN O’Loughlin is using his spell on the sidelines to accelerate his coaching education.
The Wigan skipper – out of action for at least another month following knee surgery – is working alongside Shaun Wane and his staff to better-prepare himself for the next stage of his career.
Sean’s with us full-time for now, he’s staying with us all day and doing what training with the players he can, and working with the coaching staff for the rest of the timeShaun Wane
O’Loughlin’s contract includes a role on the coaching staff when he decides to retire and he has already been assisting Under-19s boss Matty Peet.
While Wane would not wish injury on anyone, they are using the spell to their long-term advantage.
He said: “Sean’s with us full-time for now, he’s staying with us all day and doing what training with the players he can, and working with the coaching staff for the rest of the time.
“He’s with us for five or six weeks, and he’s clipping games, using a laptop... and learning about how many hours we put in!
“It’ll help him down the track when he does move into coaching.”
John Bateman has impressed in O’Loughlin’s absence.
And should the former Bradford forward continue his strong form, Wane says O’Loughlin will feel the heat for a back-row spot.
“If John is playing well he stays in, same as everyone,” he said.
“Locker is in the same boat as everyone else.
“He’s a fantastic player and it’s going to take a talented player to put him under pressure – and we’ve got that in John.
“If he’s playing well, it’s not a foregone conclusion with Lockers – and neither would he want it to be.”
Wigan boast an all-England back row in O’Loughlin, Joel Tomkins and Liam Farrell – and Wane reckons Bateman is on track to earn international honours as well.
“I wouldn’t be surprised,” he said. “John is certainly talented, he’s going to get better. His skill is not at Lockers’ level but he’s not far off.
“He made 60 tackles against Brisbane, played 90 minutes, and he’s a good kid too. And the best bit is he’s still got a lot of improvement in him.”
Wane believes Tomkins is getting back to his best form, months after his return from Saracens rugby union.
The dual-code England international has been requesting extra work to get back up to speed.
“I’ve done loads of extra work with him,” said Wane.
“And that’s the kind of person he is. He’s hungry, and he always has been.
“I remember when I was Under-18s coach, when he’d just got into the first-team, I’d drive over in my dinner hour and meet him and Paul Prescott on their day off to do extras and work on things they wanted to improve on.
“That told me they were good pros.”
Wane gave his players three days off to recover from their bruising clash against Brisbane last Saturday night.
Sam Powell is back in the frame for Sunday’s trip to Hull KR. He could replace Logan Tomkins on the bench, in a squad which is likely to be otherwise unchanged.
Lee Mossop and Dom Manfredi are set to play on dual-registration for Workington, at home to Doncaster, this Sunday.