Wigan Warriors captain O’Loughlin attracting interest from Leeds Rhinos

Sean O'Loughlin with Shaun Wane on Saturday
Sean O'Loughlin with Shaun Wane on Saturday

Wigan will have to fend off interest from Leeds Rhinos if they are to retain Sean O’Loughlin for an 18th season.

The Grand Final-winning captain is out of contract.

And Leeds last night emerged as one of the parties trying to prise him away.

It is unclear whether O’Loughlin has any interest in making a move in the twilight of his career.

He has been targeted by other clubs in the past – only last year, Toronto and Newcastle Knights made bids – but he has always stayed with his hometown club.

Wigan want to retain his services for next year and incoming coach Adrian Lam has previously stated he wanted O’Loughlin to stay as captain in 2019.

But Leeds’ interest is genuine and that alone will alarm many fans given the forward’s legendary status at the Warriors.

Former Wigan and Rhinos forward Dave Furner is taking over as coach of the Headingley outfit, with Kevin Sinfield operating as rugby director.

Both have played with O’Loughlin at either club or national level.

When O’Loughlin’s deal for 2018 was announced, Wigan stated there was an option for next season and he would be offered a place on the coaching staff when he returned.

But the 35-year-old revealed ahead of the Grand Final that he was unsigned from next month and was currently in talks about a new contract.

He is expected to be at Leigh Sports Village tomorrow to watch England’s game with France before going into the camp on Friday to prepare for a three Test series against New Zealand.