Thomas Leuluai may be returning to Wigan

SARAH HARVEY
Last updated 05:00 13/07/2014
Thomas Leuluai
ANDREW CORNAGA/Photosport
Options: The Warriors want to keep Thomas Leuluai, but it could be his English girlfriend’s call.

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The Warriors say they will do whatever they can to keep Thomas Leuluai after rumours the Kiwis five-eighth was considering a return to Wigan.

Leuluai's English partner, Natalie Goulding, is said to be missing her family and friends and wants to return home at the end of the year, the Manchester Evening News reported.

Leuluai, 29, is signed with the Warriors through until the end of next year.

He is seen as crucial to the team's performance and adds experience and a calm head to the spine.

Leuluai debuted with the Warriors in 2003 before leaving the club in 2005 to play first for the London Broncos before shifting to Wigan where he played for six years.

He returned to the Warriors in 2013. He has also played in 29 games for the Kiwis.

Leuluai's 2014 season has been hampered by a groin injury which also ruined his world cup last year. The injury is rare and understood to be osteitis pubis - a condition which cannot be operated on and only repairs with rest.

He returned to the team in round four but lasted only four games. But he did train with the team last week and is expected to return to the field soon.

Warriors' general manager football operations Dean Bell said yesterday Leuluai was "crucial" to the teams plans.

"We would do whatever we can to keep him. He is highly thought of by all the coaching staff. It certainly not in our plans [to lose him].

"Even though the team has been going well we know we are even better team when he is playing."

Bell said discussion had started with Leuluai about extending his contract beyond the end of next year.

"We are pretty keen to secure him for the long term. Andrew McFadden sees him as a big part of his plans going forward.

"We have got next year but we are even prepared to extend him now. Thomas just wants to get back on the park and start playing first - he is that sort of guy really."

Bell said all indications were that Leuluai was keen to stay.

Leuluai's decision to leave Wigan in 2012 is said to have influenced his friend and former Wigan star Sam Tomkins to join him in Auckland.

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