Sean O’Loughlin, one of the greatest ever players in British rugby league history, will retire at the end of the season.
O’Loughlin, who has spent his entire career with Wigan and captained both the Warriors and England for many years, will bring the curtain down on a 19-season career at the end of the campaign.
During his time with Wigan he has won ten major trophies and made a staggering 457 appearances for the club, and 504 in total.
Widely regarded in Australia as one of Britain’s best, O’Loughlin has established himself as one of the greats.
His achievements will be recognised by the club, who will induct him into their hall of fame next year.
“I’ve always known it would be a difficult decision because it’s something you love doing,” he said.
“To not be able to do that going forward is pretty difficult to take.
“I’ve loved every minute of it. Even seasons when we’ve not won trophies, I’ve enjoyed playing. The reason you start playing as a kid is because you enjoy it and I don’t think I’ve ever lost that enjoyment. It’s got more difficult as you get older, but the enjoyment is still there.
“We’ve had tough years and years where we’ve done fantastically well, but I wouldn’t change any of it.
“I want to say a big thank you to the fans. As a player you go out there and having a supportive crowd inspires you. I think what they bring to games is special – the intensity and the atmosphere is something you remember after you’ve finished playing. I wish we could see out these last few games in front of fans but that isn’t going to happen. The finish to this year won’t tarnish the memories I already have.
“We’ve got two games left, so for me it’s been all about getting back and ready for that. When Lammy [Adrian Lam] puts a team out on the pitch, hopefully I can be a part of that.”
Wigan Warriors chairman, Ian Lenagan, added: “Sean O’Loughlin will go down as one of the greatest players to have represented Wigan Warriors Rugby League Club.
“Sean has played his entire Rugby League career at Wigan and sits 7th on the all-time Wigan appearances-made list. His leadership qualities and loyalty are legendary.
“To spend 19 years at his hometown club and claim the honours he has won underpins what he is all about. He is a true Wiganer, an outstanding Warrior and a born winner.
“Throughout his distinguished career with Wigan and on the international stage, he has always given 100% in every game and continuously wears his heart on his sleeve.
“When the Lenagan family acquired Wigan in 2008, the intention was to bring Wigan back to trophy-winning. No-one could have led that better than Sean O’Loughlin, captain throughout those 13 years with ten major trophies earned and the real possibility of another before retirement.
“I am eternally grateful to Sean for everything he has done for the Club, for Super League and for his country. The success and inspiration he has brought to the game is exceptional and we as a Club have been very lucky to have him.
“I and everyone at Wigan Warriors would like to wish Sean the very best of luck for the future and thank him for his outstanding commitment and the wonderful memories he has brought to the club.”
He will become the 15th member of this special club’s Hall of Fame joining some of the game’s icons, including and find himself in the company of Andy Farrell, Shaun Edwards, Ellery Hanley, Billy Boston and Martin Offiah.