Thomas Leuluai eyeing up coaching role in retirement

Josh McAllister
Thomas Leuluai

Wigan’s Thomas Leuluai has said that he would like to go into coaching following his playing career.

The 36-year-old is the oldest player in Super League in 2022, but has refused to say if this year will be his last.

He made his NRL debut for New Zealand Warriors in May 2003, becoming the youngest player to ever play for the club. He would go on to make further history, becoming the second-youngest player to represent New Zealand in 2003 at the age of 18.

The half-back or hooker extended his contract with Wigan for another year, making 2022 his 12th season with the club.

And while he hasn’t confirmed retirement, Leuluai says coaching is definitely something he wants to go into following his playing days. 

Read: Sean O’Loughlin tipped to be a ‘world class’ head coach in future

Thomas Leuluai: ‘It’s something I want to have a crack at’

He said: “That’s been on the cards for a few years really. It’s something that I want to have a crack at when I finish playing. 

“We haven’t spoke too much about it. But that’s definitely something that I’ve spoke about with the club.”

On retirement, he continued: “I haven’t made a call. But I’m not silly. I know it’s coming towards the end.

“I’ll play it as I see it. But it all depends on how the body holds up and mentally if whether you still want to put your body through what you need to. 

“I must say that it’s been refreshing having the new group of coaches; Lee Briers, Sean (O’Loughlin), and even Shaun Wane and Matty obviously at the head of it. 

“They’ve been great. I’ve really enjoyed the fresh ideas and they’ve all bought in and the way we’ve done things. So it’s been good.”

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Wigan opened their new campaign with a 24-10 victory away at Hull KR.

Leuluai was named in the halves alongside new recruit Cade Cust. However, the 2010 Harry Sunderland trophy winner is happy to stand aside at times to let the club’s youngsters shine.

“We spoke about that before we signed and I think it’s the right thing for the club. I think it’s the right thing for myself personally too. 

“I think it’s right for the whole squad. We’ve got so many good players and there will be times where my experience is needed. And there’ll be times when I need a break and a young kid needs a crack. 

“It always depends on the season goes and injuries pop up, we’ll see happens.

“I’ve been trying pass on everything really. Everything I’ve learned as much as I can really. It’s what I’m here for. Everything I’ve learned in my career I’m trying to give to them.

“Harry’s (Smith) been really good. He’s a very talented player, but he’s also very smart and he’s gained a lot of knowledge over the years and he played a lot of football last year.

“This year, he’ll definitely have a say on our season.”

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