Joey Leilua will not be featuring in Featherstone Rovers’ first Championship game of the season at the York City Knights tonight.
It was announced on Premier Sports by new host Emma Jones that the Samoan powerhouse centre will not be taking part despite arriving in the country last week.
Leilua has signed a one-year deal at Featherstone after being a constant fixture in the NRL since debuting back in 2010 for the Sydney Roosters.
Leilua then revealed that he did have a number of Super League offers waiting for him, until someone ‘had a word in their ear’.
“At first, I tried to come over to different clubs, different clubs wanted me in Super League,” Leilua told BBC Radio Leeds.
“But they came back to my manager and he said that someone was putting in their ear that I was a bad person – I already knew who it was so it was difficult to come over.
“Then I got a phone call from Brian (McDermott – Featherstone’s head coach) and Martin (Vickers – Featherstone’s chief executive) to come over here and play.
Rovers are being heavily tipped as favourites to get promoted to Super League after missing out in the Million Pound Game in 2021, with Leigh Centurions set to rival the West Yorkshire side.
However, Premier Sports pundit, Ross Fiddes, went with the Bradford Bulls, saying: “I’ve got a soft spot for the Bulls so I’m going to go with Bradford.
“John Kear will have his side firing this year so I’m going to go with them.”
It’s a bold statement, but Kear has been building for a while at Odsal despite Featherstone and Leigh being great favourites to leap out of the Championship.