Leigh Leopards braced for major recruitment blow with Tom Amone exit looming

Aaron Bower
Tom Amone

Leigh Leopards are braced to lose prop Tom Amone at the end of this season after he agreed a deal to return to the NRL with Canterbury Bulldogs, Love Rugby League can reveal. 

Amone has been one of the Leopards’ most influential and important players since arriving at the club. The 28-year-old had only made a handful of senior appearances in the NRL before committing to a move to Leigh while they were in the Championship – but he has gone on to become a star forward in Super League.

He helped them secure promotion to Super League in 2022 before remaining a mainstay of their side last year and this. However, he is the latest big-name player who is leaving the Leopards at the end of this season, it seems, with Canterbury convincing Amone to return to the NRL in 2025.

Love Rugby League has been told that Amone has all-but agreed an exit from the Leopards at the end of his current contract in favour of a return to Australia, marking another significant exit for the club alongside captain John Asiata, who will join Hull FC on a lucrative three-year deal.

The Leopards are understood to already be active in the overseas market in regards to replacements for both players.

Leigh coach Adrian Lam – who signed a new long-term deal with the club last week – was asked about Amone’s future on Tuesday, and he admitted it would be a tough ask to replace him.

READ NEXT: Exclusive: Huddersfield Giants man set for loan move with Super League clubs circling

He said: “It would be very difficult for us to replace him. I think once he arrived back into the 17, we started playing better rugby.

“When Tom came to us in the Championship, Tom was a 20-minute player off the bench, he wasn’t playing in the NRL, playing 20 minutes for us in the Championship, but what we do really well here I believe is we develop players.

“If we are to lose Tom at some stage – because I know he is passionate about going back and trying to get back in the NRL – along with the other Aussie players that come to us, we understand that.

“But what we do well here is we develop the players and if we do lose Tom for whatever reason, that’s a possibility, if that happens and if we do lose Lachlan Lam one day, and if we do lose Edwin Ipape and if we do lose anyone else that’s from Australia, we’ll deal with it, we’ll get on with it.

“It’s not ideal for us but what excites me about situations like that is that we will take the next player to come in and we will develop them to be like a Tom Amone.”

And Leigh are now facing that exact situation, with Amone sealing a return to Australia at the end of this season.

READ NEXT: Everything Adrian Lam said on Leigh Leopards contract extension, recruitment and retention