IAN Lenagan has left the door ajar for Thomas Leuluai to return to Wigan in the future.
The Kiwi scrum-half flies Down Under later this month to link-up with his new club, New Zealand Warriors, after seven seasons in the Cherry and White.
He has a three-year deal with the NRL outfit which will take him to just beyond his 30th birthday – and Lenagan reckons Wigan fans may not have seen the last of him.
The club chairman said: “I know Thomas loves the club and there’s always the possibility that he may come back to the club in three years time, when his career .
“I know why he is going back, he wants to play in the NRL in front of his family while he’s at his best, and I think he’ll be at his best for the next three or four years.
“But because he has enjoyed it here, I think he will carry the Wigan name back, which is important.
“He is a massive loss for Wigan and I wish him well.”
Leuluai – the man of the match in Wigan’s Grand Final win in 2010 – launched his career at the Auckland-based Warriors before moving to Super League with Harlequins – Lenagan’s former club.
“When he left to join Wigan there was a little bit of strife between us,” admitted Lenagan. “I was probably Thomas’ worst nightmare when I arrived at Wigan!
“But we had a heart-to-heart and he has been magical ever since.”
Lenagan presented Leuluai with his Chairman’s Award at Tuesday night’s club dinner.
Leuluai admitted he will definitely be returning to Wigan in the future in some capacity, even if just to visit family – he is tying the knot with Natalie Goulding, Darrell’s sister.
Brett Finch, Jeff Lima, George Carmont, Stuart Fielden and young guns Matt Russell, Joe Mellor, Stefan Marsh and Ryan King are also departing.