‘Someone was putting in their ear that I was a bad person’ – Featherstone Rovers’ Joey Leilua reveals Super League interest, why a move didn’t happen and why it didn’t work at Wests

Joey Leilua stunned the world when he signed for Featherstone Rovers ahead of the 2022 Championship season.

Here was a Samoan international and constant fixture in the NRL since debuting back in 2010 for the Sydney Roosters moving to the second tier of rugby league as a part-time player.

However, Leilua has since 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 revealed to 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.

“I didn’t know they were second division, the way they spoke to me I thought they was first division and they convinced me to come over.

“It’s been good for the kids as it’s somewhere different, the house is small compared to Sydney though! But, it’s cosy.”

Leilua, in signing for Rovers, cannot wait to ‘repay’ McDermott for the faith he has shown in him.

“It was disappointing that my name was getting tossed around and that I’m the type of person that’s bad for a club which is disappointing.

“But I knew the person I was and I’m not going to change.

“Featherstone came along and Brian said ‘we don’t care whats happened’ and I respect Brian Mac so much for taking me on and I can’t wait to repay him the favour that he showed me.”

The hulking centre also revealed why it went wrong at his last club Wests in the NRL.

‘It was disappointing that I didn’t have any form at Wests Tigers and a lot of things went wrong there but it’s in the past and I’ve put it behind me.

“I’ll put my hand up for not playing well and for not being in the right shape, but now I feel great, after doing boxing.”

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