Wigan Warriors legend will play on in cherry and white
"Legends go out on their own terms."
The words of a delighted Kris Radlinski after Thomas Leuluai agreed to extend his Wigan career by a further 12 months.
Leuluai, 36, played only 13 times in 2021, after missing the last couple of months of the campaign with a hamstring injury.
But he's put his hand up to go round the block again as the Warriors enter a new era under a fresh coaching set-up.
“Legends go out on their own terms," said Radlinski, the Warriors executive director.
"There was no way one of the most decorated players in the modern era was going to let a hamstring injury finish his career.
“Since that day in August, he has worked tirelessly to prove that he has got the physical and mental desire to go around again.
“I know that he is respected by our club and every other Super League outfit, and everyone should be happy to see him play on for one more year.”
Since joining from Longon Broncos in 2007, Leuluai has played 315 games and won the lot as a Wigan player.
He's won seven major honours at the DW - the World Club Challenge, the Challenge Cup, two Super League titles and three League Leaders’ Shields.
Leuluai is also among a select group of players to have won a World Cup with New Zealand - but he says the time hasn't yet come to reflect on his honours.
“The main thing is not being selfish and thinking about my own career," he said. "It’s more about if I am capable of adding something to the team - and I feel like I still am.
"I still have that hunger and desire to play.
“It was a tough injury in August, but I’ve worked hard on the recovery and I’m probably ahead of schedule.
"That recovery has given me the confidence that I can come back and play another season.
"I feel really fresh at the moment and, for me, it’s about making sure I get my body right and add to the team next year.
"The main thing is I’m still enjoying it and I can’t wait to play on for another year at this great club.”
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