Wigan lure Leuluai back to Super League from next season


Thomas Leuluai will rejoin Wigan Warriors from New Zealand Warriors in time for the 2017 Super League season after opting to end his stay in the NRL for family reasons. 

Leuluai, a popular figure at the DW Stadium, won the Super League and Challenge Cup during his five years at Wigan before returning to his native New Zealand in 2013 to link up again with the Warriors, where he started his career. 

However, the 31-year-old has decided to relocate back to England, signing a deal that will see him handed an assistant coach role at Wigan when he hangs up his boots. 

"With my wife being from Wigan and us having a new-born baby, I thought for my family it would be better for us to be back in England," said Leuluai in a statement on Wigan's official website. 

"I had a bit of a look around in Super League but, as soon as I knew that Wigan were interested, it was a no-brainer to be honest.

"I've got a lot of close friends at Wigan and I really love the club and its history."

New Zealand Warriors managing director Jim Doyle said: "His leadership qualities and professionalism have been invaluable but we understand his desire to return to England and take comfort from the fact we have a number of options in his positions.

"For now he's fully committed and passionate about giving the Vodafone Warriors all he can for the rest of this season."

Leuluai is the latest former Wigan player to recently announce plans to return to the club, with Sam Tomkins back following a stint alongside the veteran utility at New Zealand Warriors and Joe Burgess poised to don the cherry and white shirt once more next season following spells at Sydney Roosters and South Sydney Rabbitohs.