Wigan Warriors: Tommy Leuluai discusses his start to the season and how he has embraced his leadership role

Wigan Warriors captain Tommy Leuluai says he is enjoying his rugby at the moment.

The 36-year-old put in a solid performance to help Matty Peet’s side to a 22-12 victory over Huddersfield Giants at the DW Stadium on Thursday night.

At the start of the season, the plan was to rest Leuluai when needed to get the best out of him, but so far he has started all three games.

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He said: “We’ll still take that approach, Harry (Smith) is a great player and is the future of the club. My job is to go out there and do my role, leading the team and the club whether I’m playing or not.

Thomas Leuluai enjoyed a strong game against Huddersfield Giants

“It’s been a good start to the season as a group. I’ve enjoyed it this year, Matty (Peet) coming in has given me a new focus, I think that’s showing in my rugby.

“There’s a lot of clarity around what he expects and the way we play. He encourages us to push the ball and play free rugby, and I think you see that in the games."

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Leuluai says he’s got older he’s started to embrace his leadership role and has become more vocal.

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“I’ve been playing that long, I’ve had plenty of time to improve,” he added.

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“I’m pretty confident in the role, with my stature and how everyone sees me. I suppose they re-signed me because of my knowledge and to show leadership when it’s needed.

“Matty has encouraged it and pushed it because I’m genuinely quite quiet. There has to be a balance, sometimes I am quiet and let other people talk.

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“I don’t try to be too personal about things, the standard is set from the group, so if someone is withholding it, I might have to say something, but I’m pretty sure someone else would too.

“With the group we’ve got I’ve not had to do that, things take care of themselves. Everyone has their own roles.

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“There’s going to be instances when I’m not playing well, but still have to lead the team, which can be challenging, but we’ve got a strong leadership group so we can share it, and hopefully one out of the five will be playing alright.”

Thursday’s victory saw Zak Hardaker make his 300th career appearance.

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Leuluai praised his contribution to Wigan and his attitude during his time in the North West, even in periods when his future has been uncertain.

“Everyone knows about Zak, look at all the things he’s won. He’s been a great player in his career and for this club. We all enjoy playing alongside him because he brings so much energy.

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“He’s a very honest guy, if he says he’s committed them he’s committed, the boys are all behind him. He didn’t have much of an off-season so he is slowly getting back, but you can just tell the quality by how he’s just slotted in.

“Regardless of what’s going on off the field, Zak always performs on it. We know that and appreciate it.”

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