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Kai O’Donnell agrees NRL deal to leave Leigh Leopards

Leigh Leopards

Leigh Leopards shocked Super League last season. The Leopards finished in the top four and won the Challenge Cup in their first year back after promotion. However, that success has not gone unnoticed, and a number of their star players have now agreed deals to leave the club.

John Asiata was the big, confirmed departure from the Leigh Sports Village. He will join Hull FC next year on a marquee deal. Asiata will be followed by Oliver Holmes, who will also make the switch across the Pennines. Zak Hardaker will reportedly make the same switch, however, this has not yet been confirmed.

Earlier this week, it was confirmed that Tom Amone would leave Leigh at the end of the season. He will take up a deal with the Canterbury Bulldogs for the 2025 season, returning to the NRL after three years in Lancashire. Now, it appears that one of Amone’s teammates will also make the switch to the NRL.

O’Donnell agrees NRL deal

Leigh Leopards

Credit: Imago Images

Kai O’Donnell joined the Leopards in 2022, whilst they were in the Championship. He has been an integral part of the Leigh side which won promotion back to Super League and performed so well last season. Reports emerged that O’Donnell was keen to make a move back to the NRL. Now, it appears that move has been agreed.

According to a report in the Daily Telegraph, O’Donnell has found a new club in the NRL. He will join the North Queensland Cowboys. He will take up a contract with the Cowboys from the beginning of the 2025 NRL season.

O’Donnell is a native of Queensland, having been born in Brisbane. He was a regular in the Queensland Cup for Burleigh Bears before signing a deal with the Canberra Raiders in the 2020 season. He made four appearances for the Raiders before moving to Leigh.

Another major blow for the Leigh Leopards

Leigh Leopards players celebrate

Credit: Imago Images

O’Donnell’s departure is another major blow for the Leopards, who now face a major rebuild for the 2025 season. They were boosted by the news that head coach Adrian Lam had signed a new contract recently, and Lam will oversee the club’s rebuild.

Key playmaker, Lachlan Lam, has also been linked with a move away, and Adrian Lam confirmed he would not stand in the way of a move to the NRL.

Key players Josh Charnley and Umyla Hanley both signed new deals recently to extend their stays with the club. Owner, Derek Beaumont, has recently re-affirmed his commitment to spending the salary cap, including all marquee spots, so the Leopards are set for a busy few weeks in the transfer market.

The Leopards have hit form recently, after a slow start to the season. They comprehensively beat play-off contenders, Salford Red Devils, last time out and face a crucial clash against the Huddersfield Giants this weekend. With the Leopards currently seven points off sixth place, they must beat the Giants to stand any chance of remaining in contention for the top 6 come the end of the season.

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