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North Queensland Cowboys have shot down suggestions they could renege on a deal that will see Luciano Leilua arrive from the Wests Tigers for 2023.
The Cowboys are spending big to get Leilua on board. The back-rower will arrive on a three-year deal worth $2.1million. The deal was agreed back in November and a lot has changed since then.
Todd Payten’s men have got the 2022 NRL campaign off to a flyer. They have surprised the rest of the competition when winning six off the opening nine games. They sit third on the ladder and finals look a real possibility.
Cowboys duo shine
Part of the reason they are doing so well is the form of Jeremiah Nanai and Heilum Luki. The young guns have really impressed. And along with Tom Gilbert have made a huge impact.
That has kicked off some reports suggesting that Leilua is now surplus to requirements. Such talk has been quickly shot down by Cowboys football boss Micheal Luck.
Leilua is still very much in their plans for the future and there are no regrets. Luck highlights the fact that Gilbert will be on the move. He is heading to the Dolphins and needs replacing.
The Cowboys also feel Leilua’s experience will be vital and will help with the development of Nanai and Luki.
“We have every intention of honouring our deal with Luciano,” Luck told the Daily Telegraph. “We will lose a good player in Tom Gilbert to the Dolphins, but we’re getting another good back-rower in Luciano Leilua.
“It will be great for our depth to have three quality back-rowers in Jeremiah, Heilum and Luciano. It’s a great position to be in – to have three strike back-rowers that we can rotate throughout a game.
“We definitely need him on our roster. We haven’t had one conversation at our end about not wanting Luciano, we can’t wait to add him to our pack. The other thing is Jeremiah and Heilum are still young so Luciano’s experience in the back row will be valuable.”
North Queensland to face Tigers
It is exciting times for the Cowboys it would appear. Payten’s men take on the Wests Tigers in the Magic Round in Brisbane this weekend when they will come up against Leilua.
They have won their last four games on the bounce and head into the game full of confidence.
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