Eels win Tonga race

Parramatta Eels have won the race for boom centre Esi Tonga, with the Gold Coast flyer set to join the Club on a two-year deal from 2012.

The explosive 23-year-old centre has joined recent signings Chris Sandow and Ben Roberts in highlighting the Pirtek Eels’ newfound direction under head coach Steve Kearney.

Tonga said: “I was really impressed with the plan the Eels have moving forward and I feel I’ll be able to play my best footy there.

“I want to thank the Titans – I’ve been with them since I was a young bloke coming into first grade.

“I’m hoping to take my footy to the next level and I feel like I’ll have the best opportunity to do that at the Eels under Steve Kearney.”

Tonga, the younger brother of North Queensland centre Willie, represented Tonga at the 2008 World Cup and has been with the Titans since 2008.

Eels coach Steve Kearney said: “Esi is a dynamic outside back that can add a lot to our squad and we’re looking forward to having him with us next year.

“He’s only young and had a bit of trouble with injuries last year, but has already shown he is a real threat out wide.”

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