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The ideal transfer target for Leigh Leopards and Catalans Dragons if big moves don’t come off emerges

New Zealand Warriors, under the guidance of former Hull KR assistant Andrew Webster and his assistant and ex-Leeds Rhinos boss Richard Agar, have made a surprising decision this morning.

They have chosen to release two of their players ahead of the NRL season opening up two positions for them to fill in the all important top 30.

The club released the following statement: “NRL squad members Taniela Otukolo and Otukinekina Kepu have today been released by the One New Zealand Warriors.

“Hooker Otukolo (20) was off contract at the end of this season while prop Kepu (20) was signed until the end of the 2024 season.”

“We appreciate their contribution during their time with us and wish them all the best for the future,” added One New Zealand Warriors general manager recruitment, development and pathways Andrew McFadden.

While the club was based in Australia both players appeared for feeder club Redcliffe in the Queensland Cup and colts competitions.

Otukolo players hooker whilst Kepu is a prop by trade this is what makes Kepu the ideal target for Leigh Leopards and the Catalans Dragons.

After their signing spree, owner Derek Beaumont confirmed that Leigh were interested in signing a middle forward and recently said “the plan” was to make further signings.

They lost Nene MacDonald to Leeds Rhinos and Blake Ferguson on compassionate grounds leaving them with a quota spot.

The Leopards have been linked with Sydney Roosters star and former NRL winner and New Zealand international Jared Waerea-Hargreaves though getting him would be difficult with a year left on his deal.

So, if this proves unlikely, signing someone like Kepu, after the success of Kai O’Donnell who was a relative unknown from the NRL, could be a smart signing for the club, one that is also not too expensive but provides a different option in the middle of the field.

Likewise, Catalans Dragons may be interested in using one of their two quota spots on him as they look for a centre and a prop after missing out on Ben Murdoch-Masila, formerly of Salford Red Devils and Warrington Wolves, and releasing Dylan Napa.

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