Papua New Guinea star Justin Olam makes Wests Tigers move on long-term deal as part of swap with Melbourne Storm

Ben Olawumi
Justin Olam, Melbourne Storm badge, Wests Tigers badge

Justin Olam has completed a move from Melbourne Storm to Wests Tigers - Alamy

Papua New Guinea star Justin Olam has joined Wests Tigers from fellow NRL club Melbourne Storm, penning a three-year contract in a deal which will see Shawn Blore head the other way.

Olam scored 46 tries in 104 appearances over the course of six seasons with the Storm, scoring the opening try in their 2020 NRL Grand Final triumph over Penrith Panthers and twice winning the Minor Premiership, the equivalent to a League Leaders’ Shield.

A former PNG Hunters ace, with 14 international caps for the Kumuls to his name, Olam was also named the Dally M Centre of the Year in 2021, has been released early from his Storm contract to link up with Benji Marshall’s Wests.

The 30-year-old pens a deal with the Tigers until the end of the 2026 season, while forward Blore will head in the opposite direction with the full details of that move still to be confirmed.

Papua New Guinea star Justin Olam makes Wests Tigers move on long-term deal

Born in Gon, a small village in the Sinesine Yonggomugl District of the mountainous Chimbu Province, Olam actually started his journey with a ‘Tigers team’ – Lae Snax Tigers, before joining the PNG Hunters.

Wests confirmed his arrival via their club website, with head coach Marshall – who officially takes charge ahead of the new season following Tim Sheens’ departure – saying: “Justin is a world class player who will bring plenty of experience to our team.

“He is a proven winner who has played at the highest level. His leadership and communication will be very valuable to our club.

“It’s a pleasure to welcome Justin and his family to our family at Wests Tigers.”

Olam debuted on the international scene back in 2016, and has appearances to his name for PNG’s Prime Minister’s XIII and in a 9s format as well as his 14 at full international level, which include eight World Cup games.

Speaking about his move to Wests, he added: “I was really impressed by Benji and his vision for me and the team. It’s so exciting to be here.

“I’m keen to put in the work and win the trust of the boys and the coaches at training, and hopefully contribute to what the club is building.”

Shawn Blore heads to Melbourne Storm as part of swap deal

In Wests’ press release confirming Olam’s arrival, they also noted that 23-year-old Blore has been released from his contract, and say he ‘will make the move to Melbourne Storm in the coming days’.

Second-rower Blore played 33 games over the course of four seasons with Wests after missing the entirety of the 2022 campaign – which saw them finish bottom and take the ‘wooden spoon’ – through injury.

Tigers chief Marshall said: “We wish Shawn all the best with his future and thank him for his contribution to Wests Tigers,” said Marshall.

“He’s a great person and he’s developed some lifelong friendships in his time at our club.’

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