Leuluai: I don’t know how long I’ll play on for

Thomas Leuluai will move onto Wigan's coaching staff once he hangs up his boots
Thomas Leuluai will move onto Wigan's coaching staff once he hangs up his boots

Thomas Leuluai has not put a timeframe on how long he may play on for at Wigan.

The Kiwi international has signed a contract to return in 2017, with a move onto the coaching staff once he hangs up his boots.

At 31, Leuluai is approaching the back-end of a decorated career which started when he was a teenager.

But he is putting his future career as a coach to the back of his mind.

He told the Observer: “To be honest it all depends on how my body feels, right now it feels good and I’d like to think I’m playing some decent football here in the NRL.

“So I’m coming back first and foremost to play – if the body holds up, you never know how long I may play on for. The coaching element was important, because you can’t play forever, and obviously as you get older you start thinking about what’s next, and having something to jump into was pretty important.

“The coaching side of it has always been something I enjoy, when you play and get involved in the leadership groups you sort of do some coaching.

“But that’s for down the track, I’m coming back to play.”

Leulaui spent a few weeks working alongside Shaun Wane last season during a mid-season trip while he was recovering from injury.

He is cutting short the final year of his deal with New Zealand Warriors to return to Wigan, allowing his wife Natalie – sister of Darrell Goulding – and their baby to be closer to her family.

“It was a bigger call than I thought it would be, this will be the last contract I sign, but I’m happy to be going back,” said Leuluai, who also attracted the attentions of Hull FC and St Helens.

Leuluai previously spent six years with Wigan, winning the Grand Final in 2010 and the Challenge Cup in 2011.

His capture from 2017 fuelled rumours No.7 Matty Smith may move on, with old club St Helens linked with him, but Wane insists none of his current halfbacks or hookers will be leaving.

“If you don’t like competition for places, this is not the club for you,” said Wane. “And all my players understand that.”