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Warriors half Leuluai returning to England

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 3/07/2016

Thomas Leuluai of the Warriors makes a break against Nate Myles of the Titans. © Getty Images Thomas Leuluai of the Warriors makes a break against Nate Myles of the Titans. Warriors utility Thomas Leuluai has been granted a release from the last year of his contract on compassionate grounds and will return to England at the end of the NRL season.

Leuluai, 31, approached the club earlier in the season requesting the release for family reasons, something which managing director Jim Doyle agreed to.

"While we were certainly keen to see him play out the term of his contract, Tommy has always made it clear he would go back to England at some stage," Doyle said.

"His leadership qualities and professionalism have been invaluable but we understand his desire to return to England and take comfort from the fact we have a number of options in his positions."

Leuluai began his second stint with the club in 2013 after returning from eight seasons in the English Super League. He played two seasons with the London Broncos before amassing 188 games across eight seasons with the Wigan Warriors.

He says he is grateful to the Warriors for clearing the way to take his English-born wife Natalie and their baby daughter back to the United Kingdom.

"My intention was to see out my time here," he said.

"I've loved being in familiar surroundings even though we've had our share of challenges but we've reached a point where we would like to go back."

Leuluai became the second-youngest player to debut for the Warriors in 2003, aged 17.

The 34-Test Kiwis veteran has played 77 games for the Warriors across a combined six seasons.

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