NRL: Penrith bolster forward pack & Cowboys sign Leilua

Luke Garner NRL

Penrith Panthers have bolstered their forward pack for 2023, while North Queensland Cowboys have signed Luciano Leilua. All the latest from the NRL.

Wests Tigers forward Luke Garner has agreed to join Penrith on a two-year deal from 2023. The 26-year-old has made 68 appearances in the NRL, scoring 21 tries.

Meanwhile, the club have re-signed Chris Smith and Eddie Blacker to one-year deals for the 2023 campaign.

Garner will reunite with head coach Ivan Cleary, who handed the back-rower his NRL debut in 2018.

“I’m really happy to have Luke join us. I think he can really add to our team and we can add to him too,” Panthers coach Ivan Cleary said.

“I have a great relationship with him from the past and I think he is the kind of guy who can flourish in our environment.”

Luciano Leilua makes immediate move

Leilua has joined the North Queensland Cowboys with immediate effect following his release from Wests Tigers. He was originally set to join the club from 2023, but has made the move early.

The 26-year-old could make his Cowboys debut against Brisbane Broncos in Round 16.

He has made 99 appearances in the NRL since making his debut with St George Illawarra Dragons in 2016. He made the move to the Tigers in 2020 and has become a high-profile back-rower in the game.

Leilua has also appeared in one Test for Samoa.

“We are thrilled to welcome a player of Luciano’s ability and class to our club at this stage of the season,” Cowboys general manager of football Micheal Luck said.

“We’ve been very lucky we haven’t had any long-term injuries to our back-rowers to start the season. That’s changed now with Heilum Luki ruled out for the season.

“We were in the fortunate position to be able to fit Luciano into our squad this year if the Tigers had an appetite to release him. It’s worked out well for both parties and we look forward to what Luciano will add to our squad moving forward.”

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About Josh McAllister 1520 Articles
Journalist. Joined the Love Rugby League team full time at the start of 2022 having been a freelance reporter for several years. Previously media manager for Swinton and Rochdale.

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