Leigh Leopards confirm Aaron Pene signing: The lowdown on Super League’s newest arrival

Ben Olawumi
Leigh Leopards badge, Aaron Pene

New Leigh Leopards recruit Aaron Pene

Following months of speculation, and having freed up a quota spot, Leigh Leopards have finally confirmed the signing of Australian Aaron Pene.

Love Rugby League first revealed at the start of this year that Pene had been shopped to clubs in England regarding a possible move for the 2024 campaign.

It’s taken a while, but having been granted a release from NRL outfit Melbourne Storm last month, a move to Super League has been completed – with Pene signing a deal at Leigh on Wednesday and being announced by the Leopards.

Here, we give you the lowdown on the Leopards‘ likely new recruit…

Leigh Leopards poised to confirm Aaron Pene signing: The lowdown on Super League’s potential newest name

Born in Sydney on September 26, 1995, Pene is 28 and will turn 29 in a few months time.

He is a powerful prop with both German & Samoan heritage, and played junior rugby league for Berala Bears & Chester Hill Hornets before being picked up by NRL side Canterbury Bulldogs.

The New South Wales native also played at youth level for Parramatta Eels, and has vast experience in both the New South Wales Cup & Queensland Cup, featuring heavily in those competitions throughout his career to date.

Pene does however have 32 first-grade NRL appearances on his CV having appeared among Australia’s elite for both Melbourne & the New Zealand Warriors.

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The NRL experience Aaron Pene has on his CV

Storm signed him for their feeder club, the Brisbane Tigers, in June 2019 while he was starring for the Central Queensland Capras. They then moved him into their top 30 – aka the senior squad – for the 2020 campaign.

The forward’s NRL debut came in Round 20 of that season against St George Illawarra Dragons, and though that game ended in defeat, Pene formed part of a squad crowned NRL champions.

After featuring another 10 times at senior level in 2021, the New Zealand Warriors snapped him up on a two-year deal from 2022, and he would appear on 14 occasions for the Warriors as well as playing in the Queensland Cup for their feeder team, the Redcliffe Dolphins.

Pene though was granted an early release after just one season over in New Zealand, moving back to Melbourne with the Storm ahead of 2023.

And the prop would feature eight times in his first season back at the club as they achieved a third-place finish, beaten by eventual champions Penrith Panthers in the preliminary final, a tie we would recognise as a play-off semi-final.

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Aaron Pene: An elder statesman in the Queensland Cup

Notably, Pene’s three career tries to date have all come in the Queensland Cup, with one in 2019, 2021 & 2023 respectively.

Including his 10 in the New South Wales Cup for the Wentworthville Magpies back in 2016, the 28-year-old has 55 second-grade appearances Down Under on his CV.

It’s the Queensland Cup where he’s been plying his trade so far this year, making four appearances for the Sunshine Coast Falcons, the current feeder team to the Storm having fallen down the pecking order at the club.

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