O’Loughlin one of best – his retirement will give Wigan extra edge in title hunt

Another true Super League great will retire at the end of the season in Sean O’Loughlin, and as with James Graham and St Helens, I think that will give Wigan the extra motivation to reach the Grand Final.

As a team-mate, Lockers was one of the best I played alongside for Great Britain and England and it’s no coincidence that our last victories against them came with him in the side.

Even though he was young back then he contributed massively to those victories, and he’s somebody that is respected on both sides of the world.

He’s the ultimate team player, super skilful and incredibly tough – and it’s a rare combination to have all three together.

Andy Farrell was the Wigan captain and no.13 before him, and Lockers has more than filled those shoes to carve out his own name in the history of the club.

O’Loughlin celebrates Wigan’s 2018 Grand Final triumph with coach Shaun Wane

Now Wigan face Hull FC in tonight’s semi-final and when you get to this stage of the season there has to be more than just winning a trophy to act as motivation.

Everybody needs a different reason to go to that extra level, and that’s why I think Wigan and St Helens will be too strong for Catalans and Hull.

Both teams have players retiring that the rest of the group will have so much respect for.

In my own time playing the best example of that I can think of is Jimmy Lowes at Bradford in 2003 when we won the treble – all the players wanted to send him out as a champion.

I think that added motivation gives Wigan the edge tonight, although the start will be critical and if Hull get off to a flyer then they could scupper Sean O’Loughlin’s plans.

Losing Joel Tomkins and Micky McIlorum is a big blow for Catalans tomorrow and Saints should have too much for them.

  • ***Betfred – Passionate about Rugby League ***

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