Shaun Wane has heaped praise on Thomas Leuluai’s role in their six-game winning run – ahead of a special milestone tomorrow night.
The 33-year-old is set to make his 250th appearance for Wigan when they head to Huddersfield.
And his contribution to the club has not been taken for granted by coach Wane.
He said: “For Tommy to get 250 games for us, it’s a massive one.
“It’s not like he’s a winger, he’s out there in the middle – and he’s played very well for us in those games.
“Any (opposition) forward would look at the defensive line, see Tommy as the smallest person in front of them and automatically run at him – and he just whacks them. They soon learn not to run at him again!
“He’s been outstanding for us. He’s a great person, too – modest and a family-man – and great to have at this club.”
Wigan have won their last six matches which have all featured Leuluai at half-back, having started at hooker for his previous matches this season.
The former Kiwi international played down his involvement in their surging run.
“The dynamics of the team seem to work out better,” said Leuluai, expected to play on next season.
“I’m more than happy to do anything that works well for the team.”
The 33-year-old returned to the club last year, having previously played at Wigan between 2007 and ‘12
And next season he will see the competition structure revert to a more conventional format.
“I think it’s better, if I’m honest,” he said.
“Right now, (with the Super-8s), some teams are just waiting for Mad Monday, and sometimes it’s difficult to work out what’s going on.
“The other way, it’s less complicated, it’s a top-five play-off, I think it’s a lot better system.”
Joe Greenwood and Josh Woods come into the squad to replace Willie Isa (collarbone) and Ben Flower (back injury). Sean O’Loughlin (calf) is still not fit.
Wigan’s 19-man squad: John Bateman, Tony Clubb, Tom Davies, Morgan Escaré, Oliver Gildart, Joe Greenwood, Gabe Hamlin, Tommy Leuluai, Dom Manfredi, Romain Navarrete, Liam Paisley, Oliver Partington, Sam Powell, Dan Sarginson, Ryan Sutton, Taulima Tautai, Sam Tomkins, George Williams, Josh Woods.