Sean O’Loughlin turned down a chance of a swansong season in the NRL, Shaun Wane has confirmed.
The Wigan Post reported how ambitious Championship outfit Toronto Wolfpack were chasing the forward.
And Australian outfit Newcastle Knights were thought to be interested in the loose forward, despite the fact he turns 35 later this year.
Coach Nathan Brown often spoke glowingly about O’Loughlin when the Aussie was in charge of St Helens.
Wane wouldn’t comment on specific clubs, but did admit the Warriors fended off competition from elsewhere to retain the England skipper, whose new deal was confirmed on Sunday night.
“There was interest from the NRL as well as clubs from the English leagues, so he could have gone anywhere and he chose to stay,” said Wane.
“It’s a credit to our system he chose to stay and a testament to his loyalty.”
O’Loughlin played in 26 games for Wigan last season and, perhaps most tellingly, the side didn’t win any of their eight Super League games without him.
He has signed a one-year deal with an option for 2019, and Wane is open to the idea he may play on beyond next season.
“Last year he played as well as ever and every time he touches the ball he has an impact,” said Wane.
“We’ll see how he goes and see how he feels next season.”