Wests Tigers are set to lose one of their major up-and-coming stars to their NRL rivals.
Kelma Tuilagi has rejected a two-year deal with the Tigers to instead agree to join rivals Manly on a long-term deal.
“Madge [Michael Maguire] fought to bring me here from Melbourne. I had tears in my eyes telling him,” Tuilagi told The Daily Telegraph.
“We came back from the Christmas break but Madge had Covid, so I had to wait another week before telling him in person.
“Holding it in was so hard. I didn’t want to do it on the phone. I wanted to tell him face-to-face because he was confident I would stay.”
Tuilagi has revealed just how is move to Wests came about in the first place.
“I started playing league when I was 15 in New Zealand. Melbourne came over and picked me up, I played some edge, some middle back then,” Tuilagi said.
“I was grateful I started off with the Storm because they are a pretty good team.
“But coming to the Tigers was the start of me.
“I had been down in Melbourne quite a bit … but the Tigers gave me the opportunity to play NRL.”