Thomas Leuluai

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Thomas Leuluai
Thomas Leuluai.jpg
Leuluai playing for Warriors in 2013
Personal information
Full name Thomas James Leuluai[1]
Nickname Tommy
Born (1985-06-22) 22 June 1985 (age 29)
Auckland, New Zealand
Height 176 cm (5 ft 9 in)
Weight 86 kg (13 st 8 lb) [2]
Playing information
Position Halfback, Hooker, Five-eighth
Club
Years Team Pld T G FG P
2003–04 NZ Warriors 21 2 0 0 8
2004–06 London Broncos 38 20 0 0 80
2007–12 Wigan Warriors 188 60 0 0 240
2013– NZ Warriors 28 6 0 0 24
Total 275 88 0 0 352
Representative
Years Team Pld T G FG P
2003–13 New Zealand 29 1 0 0 4
2011–12 Exiles 2 0 0 0 0
As of 4 October 2009
Source: RLP

Thomas Leuluai (born 22 June 1985) is a professional rugby league footballer for the New Zealand Warriors of the National Rugby League. A New Zealand national representative utility back, he previously played in Super League for English clubs, London Broncos and Wigan Warriors, with whom he won 2010's Super League XV. Leuluai was also a member of the 2008 World Cup-winning New Zealand team.

Background[edit]

Leuluai's father is former New Zealand international James Leuluai, who scored two tries for Hull in the 1985 Challenge Cup final 6 weeks before Thomas was born. He was also educated at Mount Albert Grammar School where he attended school with Sonny Bill Williams, Steve Matai and Tevita Latu. Leuluai's brother Macgraff Leuluai currently plays for Widnes Vikings, his uncle Phillip Leuluai plays for Salford City Reds and his cousin Kylie Leuluai plays for the Leeds Rhinos.

Playing career[edit]

New Zealand Warriors[edit]

Leuluai started his professional career at National Rugby League side New Zealand Warriors in 2003. He also played for the Junior Kiwis. At the time of his debut he was the youngest player to play for the club, coincidentally in the same game Mark Robinson became the oldest player to make his debut for the club. He had limited first team experience at New Zealand Warriors with competition from New Zealand internationals Stacey Jones and Lance Hohaia. He spent most of the 2003 season in the Bartercard Cup playing for his youth club Otahuhu-Ellerslie playing 10 games and scoring 5 tries. Leuluai became the second youngest player ever to represent the Kiwis when he made his debut that year. At the end of 2004, he left the Warriors after playing 21 first grade games and scoring two tries.

London Broncos[edit]

In 2004, Leuluai signed a contract with Super League side London Broncos as a replacement for Dennis Moran who had left the Broncos to join the Wigan Warriors. He spent two years at the club playing 38 games and scoring 19 tries. Both seasons were affected by injury. In 2005, his season was cut short by a broken ankle[3] while his 2006 campaign was disrupted by a hamstring injury sustained while playing for New Zealand. His contract was not extended and he agreed to join the Wigan Warriors for the 2007 season.

Wigan Warriors[edit]

Leuluai agreed a three-year deal with Wigan Warriors in December 2006 after months of speculation and rumours. He would replace Australia Michael Dobson and partner Trent Barrett in the halves during the 2007 season. Leuluai made his Wigan Super League debut in a 16-10 defeat against Warrington at the JJB Stadium on 9 February 2007. He scored the game winning try against St. Helens at the JJB stadium and scored Wigan's first against Bradford in the history breaking 31-30 comeback win in the Play Offs.

Tommy Leuluai playing for the Kiwis at the 2008 Rugby League World Cup.

On 9 May 2008 Leuluai played for New Zealand against Australia at the Sydney Cricket Ground in the Centenary Test representing 100 years to the day that the New Zealand 'All Golds' first met Australia. At the end of 2008 Leuluai played for New Zealand in the 2008 World Cup team which won the tournament.[4][5]

In April 2009, having made over seventy appearances for the club, Leuluai extended his contract with the Wigan Warriors by three years to last him until the 2012 season.[6]

He helped Wigan to their first Championship since 1998 with a man-of-the-match performance in the 2010 Super League Grand Final earning him the Harry Sunderland Trophy.[7]

The 2011 Wigan Warriors season started against St Helens RLFC in the opening fixture of the season, with his first try coming a week later at Bradford Bulls in Round 2.[8][9] As well as playing in the 2011 World Club Challenge, Leuluai scored a brace in Round 4 against Salford City Reds.[10][11] A try against Hull Kingston Rovers was followed with another against Crusaders RL in Rounds 10 and 13 respectively.[12][13] He then claimed two more braces in consecutive matches, firstly against Barrow Raiders in the Challenge Cup fourth round, then against Harlequins in Round 14 of 2011's Super League XVI.[14][15]

Leuluai was selected for the Exiles squad for the Rugby League International Origin Match against England at Headingley on 10 June 2011.[16]

Leuluai played for Wigan at hooker in the 2011 Challenge Cup final against Leeds Rhinos, scoring a try in his side's victory.

Return to New Zealand[edit]

In November 2011 Leuluai announced he had signed a three-year contract with the New Zealand Warriors starting in 2013.[17]

References[edit]

  1. ^ LEULUAI, THOMAS JAMES 2003 - 2010 - KIWI #704 nzleague.co.nz
  2. ^ "Wigan Warriiors Player Profile Thomas Leuluai". web page. wiganwarriors.com. Retrieved 16 August 2011. 
  3. ^ Rae, Richard (2006-02-05). "London calling". From The Sunday Times (Times Newspapers Ltd.). Retrieved 2009-12-27. 
  4. ^ "Kiwis select Sonny Bill". Sky Sports. 2008-08-08. Retrieved 2008-08-08. 
  5. ^ "Kiwis to wait on Webb and Matai". BBC. 2008-10-07. Retrieved 2008-10-07. 
  6. ^ "Leuluai pens new deal". www.wigantoday.net. Retrieved 2009-04-22. 
  7. ^ Hadfield, Dave (4 October 2010). "Maguire proves the guiding light as revitalised Wigan roll back the years". The Independent (UK: independent.co.uk). Retrieved 4 October 2010. 
  8. ^ Scott, Ged (12 February 2011). "St Helens 16-16 Wigan". BBC. Retrieved 13 May 2011. 
  9. ^ "Bradford 10 Wigan 44: Roberts shines on his return ahead of World Club Challenge". Daily Mail. 20 February 2011. Retrieved 13 May 2011. 
  10. ^ Wilson, Andy (27 February 2011). "Wigan Warriors make brave attempt but Dragons are still worlds apart". The Guardian. Retrieved 13 May 2011. 
  11. ^ "Salford City Reds 16-32 Wigan Warriors". BBC. 4 March 2011. Retrieved 13 May 2011. 
  12. ^ "Hull KR 16-28 Wigan". BBC. 15 April 2011. Retrieved 13 May 2011. 
  13. ^ Wilson, Andy (1 May 2011). "Sam Tomkins dazzles as Wigan Warriors crush Crusaders". The Guardian. Retrieved 13 May 2011. 
  14. ^ "Wigan 52-0 Barrow". BBC. 8 May 2011. Retrieved 13 May 2011. 
  15. ^ "Wigan 54-6 Harlequins". BBC. 13 May 2011. Retrieved 13 May 2011. 
  16. ^ "Warrington dominate Exiles picks for Origin fixture". bbc.co.uk. 2011-05-04. Retrieved 2011-05-04. 
  17. ^ Thomas Leuluai signs with Warriors for 2013 stuff.co.nz, 20 November 2011

External links[edit]