Sean O’Loughlin has been backed to carry on rattling Super League opponents in 2020 – by a man who knows a thing or to about defying time.
His former England team-mate Adrian Morley was at the HJ Stadium on Sunday to see O’Loughlin play a starring role in a thrilling Challenge Cup tie, which Warrington edged 26-24.
The 36-year-old, who wants to play on next season, yesterday appeared on a list of out-of-contract Wigan players who the club have yet to decide whether to offer a new deal to.
But Morley, who played on until he was 38, has no doubts he could still do a job next year.
“If he keeps doing what he does then why not?” said the ex-Warrington prop known as ‘Moz’.
“Even though his body may be busted at times, Lockers at 70 per cent is still better than the majority of Super League players are at 100 per cent.
“There aren’t many players around you get confidence from just from being next to them on the pitch, and he is definitely one of them. There aren’t too many things he can’t do.”
Players who are out-of-contract at the end of the season are free to negotiate with other clubs from May 1.
To help them, clubs must state their intentions and the RFL circulate a list of those players to all clubs. Fringe players Callum Field and Liam Forsyth, as well as Joe Brown, will not be offered new deals.
Eight first-team players are also on the list under the ‘not yet determined’ category.
They include centre Dan Sarginson and captain O’Loughlin as well as six fringe players: Caine Barnes, Samy Kibula, Ben Kilner, Craig Mullen, Liam Paisley and James Worthington.
George Williams – set to move to Canberra – is not included as he is still under contract with Wigan for next year.
Morley, meanwhile, says he expects the England stand-off to thrive in the NRL despite a track record which suggests forwards fare better Down Under than backs.
“I think that’s a coincidence,” added Morley. “I think any of the England players, forwards or not, could make it in the NRL, and George could definitely do well. It may take him a while to get used to playing over there and factors like the heat and living away.
“But he’d do well there and he can improve – there’s nothing like a better standard of competition to bring you on even more.”