Leuluai would love to return to DW one day

New Zealand's Thomas Leuluai
New Zealand's Thomas Leuluai

THOMAS Leuluai has left the door open for a return to Wigan in the future.

The half-back is still held in high regard by Warriors fans after a six-year stint that ended in 2012.

He has agreed a new two-year deal with New Zealand Warriors, which ties him there until 2017, after rumours he may be heading back to the Cherry and Whites for 2015.

Leuluai’s partner Natalie Goulding is the sister of soon to be ex-Wigan ace Darrell, and he remains in close contact with several players and members of staff.

And as he prepares for the Four Nations opener this weekend, he admits he may one day be back at the club he loves.

Leuluai, who won the Grand Final in 2010 and scored a try in the Challenge Cup success of 2011, said: “If it’s right for both of us, I’d jump at it. But at the moment it’s right to stay back here.

“There was never anything for next year. It’s something I looked at, obviously as my missus comes from Wigan and it’s a club that I love. I know a lot of people there and it’s a great club.

“But it wasn’t for next year as I was always contracted to New Zealand for then anyway.

“I keep in touch with a lot of people at the club. There’s a lot of lifetime friends there and I always see how they’re going.

“Always I think about Wigan, I always watch them closely and see how they are. There’s a lot of great fans there and I’m always open to it. But let’s see how it goes.”

Leuluai has been named at hooker for New Zealand’s Four Nations opener against Australia on Saturday, in place of suspended Issac Luke.

England face Samoa in the double-header at Brisbane.

And with seven Warriors players in the England squad for the tournament, and conditioner Mark Bitcon and assistant Paul Deacon on the staff, he has the ideal chance to catch up.

Leuluai reckons Sean O’Loughlin was the natural choice to captain England – the 31-year-old forward has been ruled out of the Samoa Test (kick-off 7am UK time, BBC) but should be back to face Australia and New Zealand.

Leuluai added: “He would’ve been awesome in the NRL.

“He’s one of those guys who can do pretty much everything. When people down here see Super League, he’s one of the players they ask about.

“Sean’s still respected, even though he hasn’t come down here to play – and he deserves to be in that bracket.

“Lockers is one of the best players I’ve ever played with.”