Thomas Leuluai loves his sport so much he might never leave.
The 31-year-old utility has set his sights on becoming a coach when he eventually hangs up his boots. That might not be for a few years - Leuluai remains at the top of his game - but he will start some coaching work next year at Wigan.
"It's part of the reason for coming back [to England]," said Leuluai. "It's about having a role after footy. As you get older, you look to the future and you get to a point where you need to look after yourself.
"Coaching will be a path that I will go into. I don't know if I will be coaching young guys or helping out, but there will definitely be something along those lines."
It appeals to Leuluai as a new challenge for an old dog, and a chance to remain in the game that saw him join the Warriors as a 17-year-old in 2002.
"I enjoy the environment, enjoy being around the boys and I have done it for so long," said Leuluai. " I understand the game pretty well. When you have done something for so long and you enjoy it still... it's sort of a natural progression."
At first glance, Leuluai has the raw materials to succeed: immense knowledge, wide experience, high respect and a good communicator. He would also be a welcome addition to the ranks of recent former Kiwis coaching, which includes Stephen Kearney, David Kidwell, Willie Poching and Stacey Jones.
But that's all in the future. Much closer on the horizon is Saturday morning's (NZT) challenge against Scotland in Workington, which the Kiwis have to win (preferably convincingly) to stay on track for the Four Nations final.
"We need to show them respect - that is something that Kiddy has talked about - and show respect to the Kiwis jumper, regardless of who you are playing against," said Leuluai. "I know [Scotland] will be passionate, I know they got off to a good start last weekend and really put [England under pressure]."
The Kiwis currently trail England by 30 on points differential, leading to most suggesting the Kiwis need to target a heavy victory, an idea that Leuluai rejects.
"You don't focus on that," he said. "That's the trap. The trap is going out there and trying to overplay. You just have to play. The result will take care of itself. It always does. If we turn up with the right attitude and play well enough, we will get what we deserve. Whether that is enough points to get through or whatever, we can't control that. We need to focus on playing well. If you look too far into the future about the points or what score you need to get to, it can be tricky."
Once the tournament is over Leuluai, who is on a one-way ticket from New Zealand, will return to Wigan, the club will he enjoyed such success with between 2007 and 2012.
"I'm looking forward to it and it's a new challenge," said Leuluai. " I was sad to leave the Warriors but excited to go back to a club that I have a lot of respect for. Wigan have great fans [and] I know how much they expect results-wise. I'm looking forward to playing in big games, if we can make it."
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