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Ex-Featherstone Rovers man Joey Leilua finds new club

When Featherstone Rovers signed Joey Leilua it was viewed as a true statement of intent and a major signing, however the centre left at the end of 2023 with Rovers having failed in their bid for promotion and Leilua has now found himself a new club.

Come the end of the season Featherstone released 17 of their players triggering a complete rebuild this off-season, and centre Leilua was among those 17 players meaning he’s been looking for a new club since then.

An opportunity has now arisen for the 31-year-old back down under with Leilua confirmed as having signed for Dapto Canaries who play their rugby in New South Wales, more specifically Illawarra.

That has led to the Mole of Wide World of Sports speculating that there’s a chance that NRL side St George Illawarra Dragons could take a punt on him at some point during the season, because he is within the ‘Dragons umbrella’.

The switch from Championship to NRL would be a massive one but Leilua has his age as an advantage, being just 31 when he has returned to Australia as opposed to far older as we often see.

Leilua’s signing with the Canaries was confirmed by the club who took to Facebook to announce the arrival of the ex-Featherstone man.

A statement posted on their Facebook page read: “On behalf of the Dapto rugby league football club, we would like to welcome Joseph BJ Leilua to the club for the upcoming 2024 competition. Bj will be bringing a wealth of knowledge to the club with over 200 NRL games and 15 internationals for Samoa.”

During his two seasons with Featherstone Leilua racked up an impressive try tally of 28 in 38, but that’s to be expected given the pedigree he arrived with.

Leilula had spent over 200 games in the NRL, scoring almost 100 tries too, highlighting the star power that Rovers attracted back before the 2022 campaign.

Ultimately the club’s inability to earn promotion has seen the mass turnover at the end of the 2023 campaign, of which Leilua was a victim along with the following 16; ​Luke Briscoe, Mathieu Cozza, Matty Wildie, Dane Chisholm, Mark Kheirallah, John Davies, Craig Hall, Junior Moors, Arama Hau, James Lockwood, John Davies, Elijah Taylor, Daniel Smith, Tyla Hepi, Craig Kopczak and Johnathon Ford.

The Mole’s report for WWOS speculates that much of Leilua’s return could be down toa  desire to return to the boxing ring, something he has done previously with those in the game believing that he has a future donning the gloves.

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