Connect with us

Transfer News

Leigh Leopards dealt bitter transfer blow

If any Leigh Leopards fans or on their coaching staff and you were keeping track of the NRL trials this week, it would have been a bitter blow seeing Tristan Sailor star.

The fullback starred for Brisbane Broncos in their trial win at the weekend and notched three assists as well as scoring a try himself.

However, had he made the move to Super League as expected he could have been ready to notch a hat-trick of assists in Leigh’s Super League opener against Huddersfield Giants.

Leigh moved for Sailor as they looked to add depth to their options at fullback and on the wings ahead of the new season.

They spent weeks trying to secure a visa and this was reportedly granted but with Brisbane unable to secure a replacement, they denied his release which seemingly upset Derek Beaumont as he took to X.

Brisbane have been vindicated for this decision given his display in pre-season. Leigh have since been linked with David Armstrong but it seems a move for the NRL winger will wait until 2025.

Leigh Leopards target stands out

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA – AUGUST 31: Tristan Sailor of the Broncos breaks away from the defence during the round 27 NRL match between the Brisbane Broncos and Melbourne Storm at Suncorp Stadium on August 31, 2023 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

Fullback Tristan Sailor, prop Xavier Willison and winger Josiah Karapani have produced eye-catching performances as the Brisbane Broncos took on Wynnum Manly Seagulls in the season’s opening trial at Kougari Oval.

The trial, played across three 25-minute periods, saw the home team shoot out to 10-0 lead against a Broncos line-up with a handful of their NRL Top-30 list, before Brisbane surged home to win 26-16.

Sailor – who sat out the opening 25 minutes – made an immediate impact when he came on the field and ignited Brisbane’s comeback with try assists, line break assists and a try of his own with the final play of the game to put the icing on the cake.

Other players to impress were prop Willison who was strong all day in the middle, while winger/centre Karapani showed impressive speed and step on numerous occasions to underline what has been a strong preseason as a train-and-trialist since switching from the Rabbitohs.

The home side opened the scoring in the 7th minute when seasoned finisher Jonathon Reuben pounced on a mistake from a Broncos dropout to race over for a four-pointer on the right.

Wynnum continued to dominate field position off the back of repeated Broncos errors and eventually the possession told when winger Sione Hopoate crashed over on the left to finish off some nice ball movement making it 10-0 after 23 minutes.

Brisbane rolled out some higher-profile NRL talent at the start of the second period of the game including fullback Sailor and new backrow signing Jaiyden Hunt, while Deine Mariner moved closer to the action in the centres from the wing.

That injection of class showed almost instantly as a quick shift down the right from inside the Broncos’ own half, through multiple hands sent farapani speeding down the wing, only to be pushed into touch with a last-gasp tackle in the corner.

Brisbane’s middle forwards also started to muscle up led by Willison laying the platform for Sailor to throw a lovely cutout pass on the left for young flyer Bailey Trew to charge over in the corner to make it 10-4 after 35 minutes.

The Broncos had momentum and they were over for their second try soon after when Karapani showed great athleticism to produce a spectacular flying finish in the right corner to make it 10-8 in the 38th minute.

Brisbane were then forced to defend four-straight sets on their own line but were able to repel the Seagulls as the end of the second period drew near, with some more Sailor class then splitting the home team up the middle only for the fullback to be pulled down close to the Seagulls’ line.

The home side extended their lead to 16-8 when Josh Stuckey ran a good line on the left edge to score in front of the Chook Pen with 18 minutes to go.

But it was that man Sailor at it again to get his side back within striking distance, when he produced an audacious cross-field banana kick with the outside of his right boot to land the ball in the outstretched arms of Ethan Quai-Ward to dive over and score on the right. Coby Black converted to bring it back to a two-point margin with seven minutes to go.

And Brisbane hit the lead for the first time in the game two minutes later when they capitalised on good field position off the back of another break by Karapani, Black eventually putting through a well-placed grubber kick that was spilled in the in-goal by the Seagulls, with Creedence Toia diving on the ball to score. Black converted again for a 20-16 lead.

Sailor then put the final stamp on the game when he used his acceleration and step to split the defensive line and race away to score under the posts from 30 metres out with the last play of the game.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Must See

More in Transfer News