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St Helens and Salford Red Devils miss out as rival club secure star signing

A potential target for clubs like Salford Red Devils and St Helens is set to be taken off the market in the coming days.

Wests Tigers flyer Junior Tupou has reportedly agreed a move to a rival NRL club. The winger would have been an apt signing for either Salford or St Helens ahead of 2024. The Red Devils require a winger after releasing Ken Sio on compassionate grounds in recent weeks as the expected departure of Joe Burgess looms large after a reported disciplinary problem.

St Helens meanwhile have been in the market for an outside back since the departure of Will Hopoate and Tupou could have fit the bill. However, the flyer is set to agree terms to an NRL switch.

According to reports, he is set to join the Dolphins in 2024 after interest from Sydney Roosters and the Canberra Raiders.

This is a blow to both St Helens and Salford Red Devils as well as the Wests Tigers themselves.

The Tigers have been busy lately and have added a number of names to their NRLW squad. On board again in 2024 are New Zealand internationals Leianne Tufuga and Najvada George, Samoa internationals Christian Pio and Pauline Piliae-Rasabale, and Campbelltown twins Emily and Sophie Curtain.

Tiana Lee-Thorne and Brooke Talataina will both make the step up from development contracts to the club’s top-24 roster next season.

Talataina was called on to make her NRLW debut in Round 7 last season and the young half did exceptionally well, playing every minute of the season’s final three rounds.

Thorne is an 18-year-old fullback from Liverpool who was named ‘best back’ in Wests Tigers Tarsha Gale Cup team this season and is yet to make her NRLW debut.

Another young local on the rise is Campbelltown junior Iemaima Etule. The 18-year-old middle forward has signed a long-term deal with Wests Tigers beginning with a development contract in 2024.

Another four players who will be joining the squad for the 2024 season will be announced in the coming days.

Wests Tigers Head of Football, Matthew Betsey, says the squad for next season will again have a strong local flavour.

“Entering a team in the NRLW for the first time was a huge milestone for this club and a steep learning curve,” said Betsey.

We are very proud to see so many of our local juniors and pathways players getting the opportunity to play NRLW with Wests Tigers.

“We had 14 players who made their NRLW debut and 26 players representing our club in our inaugural season.

“Of the 14 who played NRLW for the first time, 12 were local juniors or Wests Tigers pathways players.

“Year on year our aim is to bring young talent through our female pathways, and that will again be the case in 2024.”

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