Thomas Leuluai to retire at the end of 2022 to join Wigan’s coaching staff

Josh McAllister
Thomas Leuluai

Wigan captain Thomas Leuluai will retire at the end of the current season and will join the coaching staff for 2023 and beyond. 

The 37-year-old will hang his boots up at the conclusion of the 2022 campaign after 20 years.

He will become assistant coach and join head coach Matt Peet and former team-mate and current assistant Sean O’Loughlin on the coaching staff at the DW Stadium.

The Wigan half-back is due to return from injury and is set to face Catalans in the final round of the regular Super League campaign. He started his professional career in May 2003 with the New Zealand Warriors and made his international debut for the Kiwis aged just 18

In his 12 seasons with Wigan, Leuluai has played 325 games to date and won eight major honours. 

Leuluai will lead out New Zealand in their World Cup warm-up match against Leeds Rhinos at Headingley Stadium on Saturday, October 8. He will represent his country for one final time, before joining the coaching team for the tournament.

Thomas Leuluai: ‘It’s been an incredible journey’

He said: “It’s been an incredible journey. Back in 2003 when I made my debut for the New Zealand Warriors, I never thought I’d be writing this 20 years later.

“When players and team-mates around me retired, I often wondered how they knew it was the right time to do so. But I can honestly say I feel so content with my own decision and it’s true what they say, you know when it’s time.

“I look back throughout the years and I just feel incredibly grateful for everything that rugby league has given me. There have been wonderful times on the field, and amazing times off it. I’ve loved them all but without a doubt the best thing rugby league has given me is the friendships I have made.

“I have to give special mention to the Wigan fans that have taken me in like one of their own, you are what make this club such a special team to play for. It has been a privilege to represent your team and your town.

“To all my team-mates I can’t thank you enough. I’ve loved going to battle alongside you all. I’ve also loved all the great times we have had off the field, there are so many great memories that I will forever cherish.”

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