NRL 2022: Luciano Leilua, Tigers, Manly Sea Eagles Manase Fainu, Newcastle Knights, Wests Tigers, Manly Sea Eagles, Canberra Raiders, Luke Brooks, Kieran Foran, Josh Hodgson

A Wests Tigers star tries to get out of his contract and land a monstrous pay rise after a huge deal in Townsville.

This is according to a report by the Daily Telegram, who claims Leilua is off to join the North Queensland Cowboys.

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Leilua has requested a release from his Tigers contract to join the Cowboys immediately, with a bid of $2.1 million over three years.

Should the second rower make the immediate move to North Queensland, that would mean a four-year deal worth $2.8 million.

It would see Leilua exit the last year of a reported three-year deal of $1.3 million with the Tigers.

The Cowboys allegedly targeted Leilua with the money set aside to try and lure Panthers Viliame Kikau back to North Queensland.

That bid, of course, backfired when Kikau agreed with the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs instead.

Leilua and his manager are said to be disappointed at the lack of progress in negotiations with the Tigers, which began in August.

Any early move will depend on the Tigers granting Leilua a release and with Papali’i not joining until 2023, it would be a big hit for the club.

Leilua will join a new-looking Cowboys side led by halfback Chad Townsend as coach Todd Payten tries to lead the club back to the top eight.

Wild way Brooks can still get to Knights

Sea Eagles playmaker Kieran Foran’s desire for a final payday could lead to Wests Tigers halfback Luke Brooks joining the Knights.

But that will only happen if Josh Hodgson is released by the Raiders who want more money from the Tigers for the veteran whore – although negotiations It reportedly broke down on Wednesday.

There is no rest for the wicked in the complicated world of the off-season NRL.

Foran has a contract for 2022, but if the Knights – who want to replace Mitchell Pearce – offer a longer deal, he could ask for Manly’s immediate release.

If the Tigers can save the situation in Hodgson – that could allow Brooks to join the Knights – and the Tigers will then look to Foran’s signing, according to Dean Ritchie of The Daily Telegraph.

“Kieran Foran has a contract for 2022 and (Manly coach) Des Hasler has no intention of letting him go,” he said. Ritchie said on Big Sports Breakfast.

“Newcastle is in talks to replace Pearce. They need a great playmaker. I don’t think Brooks will go. So it’s ‘Do we offer Foran for two years’.

“He could raise $350,000 – $400,000. That could prompt (Foran) to ask for release if he could get the extra year.

“The other element is that if Hodgson leaves, Brooks can go, then the Tigers may look at Kieran Foran, but we’re still bubbling in the background with a lot of rumor and speculation.

“I don’t think Hodgson will happen, but all it takes is for the Tigers to come back and say to the Raiders, ‘We’ll jack it up a bit’ and I think the Raiders would let him go immediately.

“These things bubble up for months and then boom, they can happen in 24 hours.”

If Foran leaves, rising star Josh Schuster – who has made it clear he wants to play in the half – could wear the No. 6 jersey.

Newcastle signing Foran would enable the club to keep Kalyn Ponga as a full-back for at least another year.

Standing down star gets some attention

Manase Fainu is still on the books with the Sea Eagles awaiting his day in court next year, but rival clubs are keeping a close eye on the situation.

Fainu, 23, is currently on a train-and-trial deal for the 2022 preseason and is still subject to the NRL’s policy of innocence.

The hooker was widely tipped to become a SN NRL star before being charged with “intent to cause grievous bodily harm, argue and recklessly inflict grievous bodily harm in company” following the alleged 2019 incident.

The no-fault settlement has come into effect because the maximum sentence he risks is more than 11 years. Fainu pleaded not guilty to the charges.

He is due to appear in court again in the middle of next year after several legal delays.

Fainu played 34 NRL matches before the incident and has two brothers at the club.

Despite not playing in three years, The Daily Telegraph reports that several clubs are excited about Fainu if he is found not guilty.

The Cowboys Titans, Warriors, Roosters and Bulldogs are all looking for a quality hooker.

Originally published as Tigers star Luciano Leilua pushes for early departure and $700k payday


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NRL 2022: Luciano Leilua, Tigers, Manly Sea Eagles Manase Fainu, Newcastle Knights, Wests Tigers, Manly Sea Eagles, Canberra Raiders, Luke Brooks, Kieran Foran, Josh Hodgson 2

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