After a couple of seasons of blistering-hot form with my annual fearless predictions, I think I’ll come falling back to earth with an almighty thud this year.
Wests Tigers have announced the signing of Joey Leilua until the end of the 2022 NRL season.
New signing Joseph Leilua is one of the most dangerous attacking players in the NRL and will take Wests Tigers to a new level, so says coach Michael Maguire.
After missing out on Latrell Mitchell, the Tigers on Monday confirmed picking up Leilua on a three-year deal beginning this season.
The announcement came just hours after revelations Canberra recruit Curtis Scott had been charged with two counts of assaulting a police officer on Australia Day.
Scott’s arrival at the Raiders resulted Leilua being squeezed out of the nation’s capital, allowing him to to unite with brother Luciano at Concord.
It is believed Scott’s off-field incident was never going to jeopardise Leilua’s move, given the contract was agreed to last week.
However the Tigers club were quick to hail the Samoan as a key to unlocking their attack this season.
“I’m extremely pleased to welcome Joseph to Wests Tigers and start working with him,” Maguire said.
“He is without doubt one of the most dangerous attacking players in the competition and will take this team’s potency to a new level going forward.
“To secure a player of his class and talent for the season ahead is a huge boost for the club and one that will lift this team right across the park.”
The Tigers had made no secret of their desire to sign the Kangaroos star once it appeared he had severed ties with the Sydney Roosters, offering him a lucrative deal.
Maguire had even visited Mitchell in his hometown of Taree on the mid-north coast of NSW in a bid to secure his services.
However he snubbed the merger club in favour of joining Maguire’s former outfit, South Sydney, on a cheaper, shorter contract.
Instead the Tigers have ended up with 28-year-old Leilua, who has twice been named Dally M centre of the year.
“I’m extremely confident that the best is also still to come for Joseph,” Maguire said.
“He brings a wealth of on-field experience to our team and we’re extremely excited to watch him play in Wests Tigers colours for many years to come.”