Barrett to captain Wigan
Australian steps up after injury to O'Loughlin
Last Updated: 22/05/08 7:56pm
Barrett: leadership duties
Trent Barrett will take over as Wigan Warriors captain for the remainder of his final season at the club.
"Whereas we've had two leaders - because Barrett has helped out - now I need this bloke to be my eyes and ears on the field as Sean O'Loughlin is."
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Regular skipper Sean O'Loughlin is ruled out for three months after breaking a shoulder blade during the victory over Warrington on May 16.
Warriors coach Brian Noble, who has no official vice-captain, has decided to hand the leadership duties to Australian stand-off Barrett, who is returning home to the NRL at the end of the season.
Noble admitted the 30-year-old is the obvious candidate given his captaincy experience earlier in his career with St George Illawarra.
"The added responsibility that he gets with the stripes is the fact that he's now the focal point for it," said Noble.
"Whereas we've had two leaders - because Barrett has helped out - now I need this bloke to be my eyes and ears on the field as Sean O'Loughlin is.
"He leads with his performances and he's healthy now. His future is decided and he wants to finish on a high. This will only add to his determination to do well."
Wigan centre Phil Bailey backed the choice of Barrett, saying: "Trent captained St George for years and he's a born leader.
"He's a leader in the side so he'll slip straight into that role and lead us around the park.
"It's bad for Lockers (O'Loughlin), who is a quality player and we'll really miss him, but you've got to look at the positives. One of the young guys will get an opportunity now to play a bit of footie until Lockers get back."
Noble is optimistic that O'Loughlin could return in time for the Super League play-offs.
"There is every chance we'll get him back before the end of the season," he added.