Wigan’s Tommy Leuluai shares thoughts on his future at Wigan.
Former New Zealand International previews February’s World Club Challenge against Sydney Roosters.
Excitement for WWC continues to gather pace ahead of highly-anticipated clash of champions.
With two weeks until the World Club Challenge between Wigan Warriors and Sydney Roosters (17th February), hear what Warriors half-back Tommy Leuluai has to say on his future plans at the Club.
Evergreen Thomas Leuluai says 2020 Wigan Warriors coach Shaun Edwards will help determine whether this is the final season of a glittering career.
Leuluai, 35, isn’t sure how to broach the subject with the man who will replace Adrian Lam at the end of the year - but he says his 39-Test international career is definitely over after a talk with Kiwis coach Michael Maguire.
“We’ll see how the season goes - I think a couple of months in we’ll make the call,” Leuluai says.
“Either I’ll make a call or it will be made for me, one of the two! There’s no point me even making the decision yet, we’ve got a new coach coming in next year. He’ll most probably have a say in that. We’ll see. I’m not too fussed. I’m not putting any pressure on myself.
“It’s really unusual, what’s happening at the club but as players we don’t really think about it. We come in, get told what we have to do, train…”
But the 2017 World Cup did mark the end of the road for Leuluai in black, he confirms.
“I had a chat with Madge (Maguire) halfway through last year, he was seeing how I felt and it just didn’t feel right, I suppose.
“I felt it was enough for me. They’ve got so many good youngsters coming through. Yeah it is tough … actually no, not really. I’m a realist. You’re not going to play forever.”
And that means the World Club Challenge against Sydney Roosters on February 17 shapes as one of the last handful of big occasions for the man who won the Harry Sunderland Trophy for his performance in the 2010 grand final.
He knows the WCC is still searching for respect Down Under.
“When I was back at the (New Zealand) Warriors, you see the game and you could see they didn’t take it as much as people over this side of the world do,” he admitted.
“I don’t know, what can you do about that really? It’s not up to us. Over here they really like the challenge of playing against the NRL teams. The NRL is looked at like the benchmark in rugby league.”
The former London Broncos no.7 says he felt out of place when Wigan beat Cronulla to lift the world title in 2017.
“It was a tough one for me because I wasn’t involved in the winning of the premiership the year - it was a weird one, it felt like I was taking someone else’s shirt,” he said.
“But I enjoyed it. For a lot of players, they don’t go to the NRL, they don’t play internationals, it’s your only chance to play against these guys.
“You look at the team that’s coming over this year, some of the best to ever play the game like Cooper Cronk and blokes like that. It’s a great challenge for these young guys. We’ve got a fairly young squad so I know they’re really looking forward to it.
“Fingers crossed we can go out there and put a decent performance in.”
Leuluai appreciates having a former international half, Adrian Lam, as his new coach. “There would have been a lot of pressure on him, I guess, coming in with us winning,” Leuluai observed.
“He’s been respectful of what’s gone before with Waney (Shaun Wane), he’s gone out of his way to make sure there’s respect for that. But he’s added his twist to things. I think the boys have bought into what he’s done.
“We didn’t go too bad last year so it would be silly to come in and change everything. He’s changed a few things but it might be a few weeks before you start to see it.
“I don’t think we’re going to say ‘it’s a transition year, don’t tackle as hard’.”
Don’t miss the world’s two best sides go head-to-head on February 17 and buy your tickets today. Call the DW Stadium ticket office on 01942 311111 or click HERE.
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