Catalans Dragons to release overseas prop with NRL return looming large

Ben Olawumi
Sio Siua Taukeiaho - Catalans

Sio Siua Taukeiaho in action for Catalans Dragons - Alamy

Super League leaders Catalans Dragons have now officially confirmed that Sio Siua Taukeiaho will leave the club at the end of this season, a fortnight after the player himself did.

The prop only joined Steve McNamara’s side ahead of 2023, and has made just seven appearances to date, one of which from the off. Taukeiaho crossed for a try on debut against Hull FC back in March, but has since been on the sidelines more than he has on the field.

Last month, he told Australian outfit News Corp that he would be returning to Australia and the NRL from 2024, and the Dragons themselves affirmed the same in a statement on their website this afternoon.

Catalans Dragons to release Sio Siua Taukeiaho

The statement read: “Catalans Dragons can confirm Siua Taukeiaho will be released from the remainder of his contract at the end of the 2023 season for family reasons. The club will be ready to negotiate if the player finds a new opportunity elsewhere.

“The Tongan prop arrived at the club this season and made 7 appearances for the Dragons in an injury-blighted season.

The club would like to wish him all the best for the future.”

Sio Siua Taukeiaho: “I wish I could have stayed longer”

In the same statement on Catalans’ website, the player himself made comment. The New Zealand-born 31-year-old said: “It’s been a disappointing season with the number of injuries I have had. I love this place, I wish I could have stayed longer but I need to put my family first.

“I remain 100% focused on my objectives with the club until the end of the season. I will do everything to get my body right to help the team to win the competition. I haven’t signed anywhere else. If that happens, both clubs will then negotiate.”

CEO Bernard Guasch added: “We’ve had a discussion with Siua and we understand his decision to return to Australia. He is very frustrated with his season and would have liked to contribute more to the club’s performances.

“We know he is going to do everything he can to be competitive for the last games of the season and to help the team to achieve its objectives.”

Catalans set to lose key man to NRL; Re-build needed in South of France?

With the statement, the fact that Taukeiaho will return to Australia has been confirmed for definite.

It’s not yet known where that return will be to, though reports have circulated it will be Canterbury Bulldogs who earn his signature with a lucrative contract worth up to $1 million.

He won’t be alone in leaving Perpignan this summer, with Mickael Goudemand already confirmed as joining Leeds Rhinos. The pairing of Adam Keighran and Tikai Chan have also penned deals in England with Wigan Warriors, while Matt Whitley is expected to join St Helens. Catalans captain – and former Man of Steel – Sam Tomkins meanwhile is retiring.

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