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Leigh Leopards: Five transfer targets for Adrian Lam

Leigh Leopards

After a turbulent few months at the Leigh Leopards, the club appears to have turned a corner in recent weeks. On the field, performances are improving after a difficult start to the season. Now, off the field, following the news that Adrian Lam has signed a new contract, the Leopards can begin to plan for next season. 

Leigh have been rocked by a number of high-profile departures this season, with John Asiata set to join Hull FC at the end of the 2024 season. Zak Hardaker and Oliver Holmes will also reportedly move to the Black and Whites at the end of his contract. Tom Amone will also leave the club, to take up a two-year contract with the Canterbury Bulldogs.

Further reports have linked Kai O’Donnell with a move to the NRL. These moves would leave a major hole in the club’s pack. They might not be the only players destined for the NRL as star half-back, Matt Moylan was linked with a return down under previously, but he has since denied the reports.

Lam’s new contract means Leigh can now begin to focus on their squad building for 2025. The departure of so many key players means Leigh will be active in the transfer market in the close season. We have identified five players that Lam could target as he attempts to rebuild Leigh’s squad.

Five players Leigh Leopards should look to sign after re-signing Adrian Lam

Jack de Belin

Jack de Belin could be a target for Hull FC

Credit: Getty Images

With Asiata set to depart the club, Leigh need to find a replacement for the talismanic forward. What makes Asiata unique is the combination of his size and ball-handling ability, making him almost two players in one. Leigh will be actively searching for a player with similar qualities, and Jack de Belin fits the bill.

de Belin is a PNG international and has played alongside Lachlan Lam and Edwin Ipape at international level. He has spent his whole career to date with St. George Illawarra and has represented New South Wales in State of Origin.

He has recently spoken about the possibility of a move to Super League, stating that he needs to maximise his earnings in a short career. With no contract offer on the table from St. George Illawarra, a move to Leigh Leopards could be the perfect move for a player who is approaching the end of their NRL career.

David Armstrong

David Armstrong connected to Leigh Leopards

Credit: Getty Images

David Armstrong looked set to join the Leopards earlier in the 2024 season. Adrian Lam had spoken in glowing terms about the flying outside back, however, Leigh did not have a quota spot available and the deal to sign Armstrong was put on hold.

An injury to Ben Nakubuwai, when he was on the verge of joining Castleford Tigers from Leigh, meant that Armstrong never made the move to England. However, Leigh retain an interest in Armstrong and a move to bring him to Super League for 2025 remains a possibility.

Armstrong has made headlines in recent weeks, having broken into the Newcastle Knights side. An injury to fullback, Kalyn Ponga, presented an opportunity for Armstrong, and he has taken it with both hands. In four appearances for the Knights, he has scored five tries, including a hat trick in the recent Magic round victory over the Gold Coast Titans. The Knights have won all four games in which Armstrong has features.

His flying start in the NRL means Leigh will likely face competition for his services. However, he is a player of huge potential, and Leigh Leopards will hope to finally get a deal for Armstrong over the line.

Ben Murdoch-Masila

Super League

Credit: Imago Images

Big Ben Murdoch-Masila was a Super League favourite during spells with the Salford Red Devils and Warrington Wolves. With the build of a prop, but the speed of an outside back, he terrorised Super League defences, and was named in the 2017 Super League Dream Team.

Tongan International, Murdoch-Masila, has 14 international caps, alongside 105 Super League appearances and 118 NRL appearances. He is currently at St. George Illawarra, having also spent time at Wests Tigers, Penrith Panthers and the NZ Warriors. However, his contract with the Dragons is set to expire at the end of the season, and a return to Super League could be on the cards.

Murdoch-Masila was linked with a move to the Catalans Dragons in the close season and appears to be open to a return. With Leigh Leopards set to lose some of their key forwards, securing Murdoch-Masila’s services would boost the Leopards’ pack and bring some much-needed experience to the side.

Luis Roberts

Credit: Imago Images

Luis Roberts is a former Leigh player, having played six games for the club in the 2022 season, before leaving to join Leeds Rhinos. Roberts is a highly-rated youngster, capable of playing on the wing or at centre, and has been a regular part of Rohan Smith’s Leeds side this year.

However, Roberts’ contract is set to expire at the end of the season and he is yet to sign an extension. This could open the door for Leigh to bring him back across the Pennines. Roberts comes from a family of Leigh fans, and still lives in the area. He could be tempted to return to the club if offered a contract by the Leopards.

With Tom Briscoe departing for Hull FC, and Hardaker also likely to leave at the end of the season, Leigh will be short in the backs. Roberts would be a signing for the future, however his versatility would provide for multiple positions across the back line.

Whilst not as high profile with some of the other names linked with a move to the Leigh Leopards, Roberts would be a pragmatic signing as the club look to plan for the future.

Peter Hola

Leigh Leopards

Credit: Imago Images

Peter Hola has been consistently linked with a move to Super League. He was reported to have turned down two Super League clubs in the off-season. However, his contract is set to expire at the end of the season, and he could be an ideal target for Leigh.

With Tom Amone’s departure confirmed, Leigh need to sign another prop this winter. Hola turned down a move to Super League in order to attempt to earn regular game time in the NRL. But he has not appeared for the Canberra Raiders this season and has made just 13 NRL appearances since making his debut in 2019 for the North Queensland Cowboys.

He has been called up for the Raiders’ round 12 clash against the Sydney Roosters this weekend, after a strong run of performances in the NSW Cup. Hola will be hoping that he can take the opportunity to prove his worth.

Given his lack of first-team rugby, a move to Super League now appears to be a likely option for Hola. At 25 years of age, he is approaching his best years as a prop and will want to be playing regularly. A move to Leigh Leopards could be the perfect opportunity for him to prove that he can make it at the first-team level.

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