Recent reports have suggested that the Wests Tigers are in talks with Canberra Centre Joseph Leilua in a move that would see him unite with younger brother Luciano at Concord.
The arrival of former Storm Centre Curtis Scott has put Leilua’s starting position in the Canberra team into question with the Samoan International facing the possibility of playing 2020 in reserve grade.
With reports that BJ met with Madge on Monday, here’s the 5 reasons why the Tigers should sign Joey Leilua
- Leilua improves the backline significantly
It’s no secret that the Tigers have been looking for an upgrade in their outside back stocks this season.
Although maybe not quite what fans were hoping for, Leilua would make an immediate impact as the best outside back at the club.
He would presumably slot onto the right edge leaving Talau and Momirovski in a preseason fight to secure the left side with rumors circulating that Moses Mybe will start the year at Hooker.
This move would arguably also be good for Tommy Talau as it gives the young star more time to develop and learn from a two-time Daily M Centre in Leilua.
NBA Hall of Famer Scottie Pippen once said that one of the reasons why the 90’s Chicago bulls were so dominant was because of the pressure and competition that whole squad placed on each other during practice which as a result meant players were always fighting for game time thus raising the standards of the team.
Although not quite as dominant as the Michael Jordan led Chicago Bulls, the Wests Tigers signing Leilua will hopefully provide a spark that will get the best out of the other outside backs at the club as well as improving the overall depth
- If you can’t beat them, recruit them!
I don’t know about other Wests Tigers fans, but I still have nightmares about Joey Leilua absolutely destroying us by putting on an absolute centre masterclass on multiple occasions including one do or die game at Leichardt oval in 2016 that I would like to forget.
So if the Tigers can’t beat Leilua, then surely the best thing to do is recruit him so I never have to watch him tear us apart again.
However, if BJ can replicate one of his famous performances against a team like Parramatta at Bankwest for example, all will be forgiven.
- Leilua is only 28
The Samoan international only turned 28 in December of last year meaning that he still has some good years left in him under the Coaching of Madge.
Under the right contract, the Tigers could absolutely get value for money from Joey as they look to break their finals drought. It’s also important to remember that Leilua sat out a large chunk 2019 with a neck injury which would have completely ruined his match fitness.
Although a bit underdone, I thought that Leilua looked impressive in the Raiders finals campaign and as long as the Tigers do their due diligence on the neck injury, don’t be surprised to see Joey return back to his 2016 and 2018 form in 2020.
- BJ brings a lot of X factor to the team
With the departure of Marsters to the Cowboys in the offseason, it can be argued that the Tigers haven’t managed to replace X-factor that Esan provided.
The test for X-factor that I like to use is who is that one player that is going to win you the game in bad conditions midway through the season against a team like the Bulldogs at Bankwest when nothing is going your way and neither team can seem to land that killer blow.
It can be argued with the exception of Chee-Kam, The Tigers struggled in this department last year.
Joey along with his brother are nothing but X-factor and the signing of Leilua would mean that the Tigers would go up another level in attacking potential and hopefully coming away with more points from winnable games.
- Leilua’s presence would bring out the best in Nofoaluma on the Tigers right edge.
There is no question that Leilua and Jordan Rapana formed one of the deadliest right sides combos in the history of the NRL.
Rapana found himself with so much space because Joey was such a threat on the inside with the ball in his hands so defenders couldn’t risk sliding off of him leaving the Winger was more room to work his magic.
Now imagine the same space being created with Nofoaluma as the beneficiary.
I’ve written before that I believe that Nofoaluma is one of the most underrated Wingers in the competition.
His yardage play is second to none and the way he starts sets off for the Tigers in attack is invaluable.
The signing of Leilua would mean that Nofoaluma has more space and time on the outside in which he will be able to demonstrate to spectators just how good of a finisher he is.
I’m calling it now, a Nofoaluma and Leilua combination will feature heavily in 2020 highlight reels at seasons end.
(All photo credit goes to NRL.com)