Talking RL: 'Why is Sean O'Loughlin held to a higher standard than other veteran forwards?'

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josie andrews
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Talking RL: 'Why is Sean O'Loughlin held to a higher standard than other veteran forwards?'

Post by josie andrews » Fri Aug 09, 2019 12:36 pm

When Sean O'Loughlin suffered an injury last week, something struck me.

Reading and hearing fans' comments about him - as they speculated whether he should or would call it quits - I was left asking: Why is Sean O’Loughlin held to a higher ‘bar’ than other forwards in the twilight of their careers?

He’s 36.

It makes sense that injuries bite more, after so many knocks and bangs. And it makes sense that he won’t be quite as good as he was a few years ago.

You know why? Because NO player has been as good at 36 as they were in their late-20s!

But he’s still an outstanding player, still a hugely influential figure at the club.

Even last week, just before his unfortunate pectoral injury, his return from the bench not only lifted the side, but it improved it, too.

Now I'd argue the Wigan side now can cope better without him than in recent years, but he's still capable of producing performances which are a level above most; it was only a few months ago, Sydney Roosters coach Trent Robinson volunteered, "If Sean O’Loughlin is not one of the best players in the world... he’s an incredible player."

Yet for some reason, instead of comparing his value against the players around him and against him, some insist on comparing it to the incredibly high bar he had previously set.

Old forwards Ben Westwood, Gareth Ellis and Jamie Jones-Buchanan still contribute to their clubs, without the comparisons to the days when they were all starring for their country.

Ex-players Adrian Morley, Jamie Peacock, Steve Menzies and many more weren't as brilliant at the end as they were in the middle, but they were still terrific (and note: they proved players don't need to 'go out on top' to protect their legacies).

I don’t understand why some don't afford Lockers that leeway. Maybe it's because he's the England captain, and the others I've mentioned - past and present - had left the international arena before their final years.

But as Moz said, Lockers at 70 per cent is still better than most players in Super League.

I agree.

And it’s great news that he is likely to be back this season – just in time for the Grand Final, of course.

He remains out of contract. Will he play on next year? I hope so. Not only for the contributions he continues to make, but as a mentor for his long-term successor Morgan Smithies.

Clubs have been frantically tweaking their squads before the Super League transfer deadline closes (sorry, as a journalist, I’m contractually obliged to write, ‘slams shut’!) tomorrow.

Morgan Escare has moved to Wakefield. It was a smart move for everyone.

Wigan get a chance to see what he can do and whether he should be in their 2020 plans – he hasn’t played since May – while Escare gets some vital minutes, Wakefield get a very good player and Super League gets a crowd-pleasing star.

Winner, winner.

Unless, of course, he scores the winner for Wakefield against Wigan in a couple of weeks!

Interestingly, another of Trinity’s loan recruits, Chris Green, has been told he won’t be allowed to face his parent club, but Wigan haven’t issued any restrictions.

https://www.wigantoday.net/sport/talkin ... -1-9925401
Anyone can support a team when it is winning, that takes no courage.
But to stand behind a team, to defend a team when it is down and really needs you,
that takes a lot of courage.

nathan_rugby
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Re: Talking RL: 'Why is Sean O'Loughlin held to a higher standard than other veteran forwards?'

Post by nathan_rugby » Fri Aug 09, 2019 4:47 pm

I do not think any has really been disputing his ability / performance when fit.

Its his injury record over the last 3, maybe 4 years that is causing the discussions about him playing on too long and retiring.

A lot of it comes down to salary cap. Is Lockers on X salary worth the 15-20 games a year and minutes he plays? Or would it be better to sign somebody else using that salary?
Bomhead - "Lockers to prop."

fozzieskem
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Re: Talking RL: 'Why is Sean O'Loughlin held to a higher standard than other veteran forwards?'

Post by fozzieskem » Fri Aug 09, 2019 5:08 pm

nathan_rugby wrote:
Fri Aug 09, 2019 4:47 pm
I do not think any has really been disputing his ability / performance when fit.

Its his injury record over the last 3, maybe 4 years that is causing the discussions about him playing on too long and retiring.

A lot of it comes down to salary cap. Is Lockers on X salary worth the 15-20 games a year and minutes he plays? Or would it be better to sign somebody else using that salary?
Truth is you couldn’t get someone of his ability for what he costs Wigan on the cap could you?

nathan_rugby
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Re: Talking RL: 'Why is Sean O'Loughlin held to a higher standard than other veteran forwards?'

Post by nathan_rugby » Sat Aug 10, 2019 8:15 am

fozzieskem wrote:
Fri Aug 09, 2019 5:08 pm
nathan_rugby wrote:
Fri Aug 09, 2019 4:47 pm
I do not think any has really been disputing his ability / performance when fit.

Its his injury record over the last 3, maybe 4 years that is causing the discussions about him playing on too long and retiring.

A lot of it comes down to salary cap. Is Lockers on X salary worth the 15-20 games a year and minutes he plays? Or would it be better to sign somebody else using that salary?
Truth is you couldn’t get someone of his ability for what he costs Wigan on the cap could you?
Is Lockers for 15 games and say £100k a year better than X new player for 30 games and £100k? Who really knows.

Looking at our squad for next year, we may as well keep him if we can afford him and try to blood smithies in more if that’s who the club see as the replacement.
Bomhead - "Lockers to prop."

ancientnloyal
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Re: Talking RL: 'Why is Sean O'Loughlin held to a higher standard than other veteran forwards?'

Post by ancientnloyal » Sat Aug 10, 2019 8:20 am

Should just retire now. Takes up too much room in the squad for playing 20 minutes. Sorry Sean but now is the time his body and future is more important.
Rugby, Family and Strava... that’s about it for me tbh

nathan_rugby
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Re: Talking RL: 'Why is Sean O'Loughlin held to a higher standard than other veteran forwards?'

Post by nathan_rugby » Sat Aug 10, 2019 8:52 am

ancientnloyal wrote:
Sat Aug 10, 2019 8:20 am
Should just retire now. Takes up too much room in the squad for playing 20 minutes. Sorry Sean but now is the time his body and future is more important.
How important is he at training and for the culture of the club? That’s something the fans will never truly know the value of.

It’s very important to keep our identity, culture, standards and even more so because we have a new coach.

Without SOL our veterans are:
Clubb, Tommy, Farrell
Flower, Powell

Is our experience slowly dwindling away ?
Bomhead - "Lockers to prop."

Wintergreen
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Re: Talking RL: 'Why is Sean O'Loughlin held to a higher standard than other veteran forwards?'

Post by Wintergreen » Sat Aug 10, 2019 9:24 am

The issue is the salary cap.

ancientnloyal
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Re: Talking RL: 'Why is Sean O'Loughlin held to a higher standard than other veteran forwards?'

Post by ancientnloyal » Sat Aug 10, 2019 8:05 pm

Culture of the club?? That’s laughable to be honest
Rugby, Family and Strava... that’s about it for me tbh

Woody1989
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Re: Talking RL: 'Why is Sean O'Loughlin held to a higher standard than other veteran forwards?'

Post by Woody1989 » Mon Aug 12, 2019 10:04 am

Does anyone know how much of his salary actually counts on the cap? He must have dispenation for length of service and being a home grown player?

nathan_rugby
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Re: Talking RL: 'Why is Sean O'Loughlin held to a higher standard than other veteran forwards?'

Post by nathan_rugby » Mon Aug 12, 2019 10:16 am

Woody1989 wrote:
Mon Aug 12, 2019 10:04 am
Does anyone know how much of his salary actually counts on the cap? He must have dispensation for length of service and being a home grown player?
I am sure its only £5000 per home grown player that gets deducted up to a maximum of £100,000, so 20 players could potentially qualify.
Bomhead - "Lockers to prop."

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