Uncertainty over ‘spine’ a positive, explains O’Loughlin

Will the return of Morgan Escare move Sam Tomkins to a halfback spot?
Will the return of Morgan Escare move Sam Tomkins to a halfback spot?

Sean O’Loughlin admits he is not sure what will be Wigan’s strongest ‘spine’ this season – and believes that’s a good thing.

Shaun Wane has admitted one of the full-backs, Morgan Escare and Sam Tomkins, may partner George Williams in the halfback spots this season.

Such a move would maximise their game-time – rather than leaving one out – and also allow Thomas Leuluai to switch to hooker, a position many think better suits his game.

And though tough No.9 Micky McIlorum has departed for Catalans, Wane has plenty of other candidates for the hooker and half spots.

O’Loughlin said: “If you ask me now, I don’t know our best combinations.

“It may take a couple of games, and with the friendlies, we can see different variations.

“I don’t think that’s a bad thing.

“We don’t want to go in and say, ‘This is our spine’, and stick with it even if it doesn’t work.

“We want options, we want to see people in different positions and see how they go.

“Tommy has been a Kiwi international nine, if he plays there, he knows what it’s about.

“Sam Powell, Josh Ganson coming through, Jake Shorrocks has had a stint there... it’s good to have different options.”

The new Super League campaign begins in little more than three weeks, at Salford on Friday, February 2.

McIlorum started training with his new club Catalans last week.

“It was a bit of a shock,” added O’Loughlin. “But that’s sport, people move on. It’s sad to see him go and I wish him all the best.

“It’ll be strange to play against him.”