Leuluai signing may complete next year’s squad

Thomas Leuluai won Grand Final and Challenge Cup honours with Wigan
Thomas Leuluai won Grand Final and Challenge Cup honours with Wigan

Shaun Wane has hinted the capture of Thomas Leuluai may bring an end to Wigan’s recruitment for 2017.

The Kiwi, 31, is returning next season in a deal which will see him take up a coaching role once he hangs up his boots.

With Joe Burgess also coming back and NRL prop Frank-Paul Nuuausala joining, Wane is happy with the quality of the additions he has made.

And while he has not ruled out tinkering with his panel before next season, he wouldn’t be surprised if they have completed their business.

“That’s possibly it,” he said. “I don’t know the exact state with the salary cap, I leave that to Rads (Kris Radlinski, rugby director), but we’ve got three quality players coming in.

“You never know what might happen in the future.

“I’m constantly looking for players who can improve us - and that won’t change – but if this is the squad I’ve got then I’m very, very happy.”

The pending exits of Josh Charnley and Dan Sarginson created a need for an outside back, and Burgess’ return after one year away in the NRL has filled that void.

But the recruitment of two other internationals is more than many expected, given there was no obvious need to bolster the pack and halfback roles.

Prop Greg Burke has completed a move to Widnes on a two-and-a-half year deal – as predicted in yesterday’s Evening Post – ahead of Nuuausala’s mid-season arrival from Canberra.

But Wane has dismissed rumours one of the current players may need to make way to accomodate Leuluai’s return next year.

Pub-chat and messageboard rumours have linked Matty Smith with his former club St Helens.

Leuluai’s ability to play at halfback and hooker means his arrival for 2017 could also impact on George Williams, Jake Shorrocks, Micky McIlorum and Sam Powell.

Wane said: “I’m happy with Matty, George, Sam, Jake and Micky - and the best will play.

“We are a club where – if you’re a player who doesn’t like competition – we’re not for you.

“I know there’s talk among fans and in the media, but the players all understand it and they like it.

“I want everyone to be under pressure – that’s what brings the best out of them.”

Burke, meanwhile, could make his Widnes debut in Friday’s match against St Helens after completing a move. He trained with his new team-mates yesterday.

Radlinski praised his contribution to his hometown club and said he will leave with “his head held high”.