Samoa powerhouse Joey Leilua joins new club upon return to Australia following Featherstone Rovers departure

Drew Darbyshire
Joey Leilua Featherstone Rovers Alamy

Joey Leilua in action for Featherstone Rovers in 2022 - Alamy

Former Samoa international Joey Leilua has landed a new club upon his return to Australia following his departure from Championship side Featherstone Rovers.

The 31-year-old centre has linked up with Dapto Canaries, a 112-year-old club who play in the Illawarra Cup competition.

The Canaries are coached by former Toronto Wolfpack and Leigh half-back Blake Wallace, who retired from the professional game at the age of 29 in 2021 due to recurring concussion symptoms.

Leilua, meanwhile, has spent the last two seasons in England playing for second tier side Featherstone, scoring 32 tries in 46 appearances for the Rovers.

The Sydney-born centre made his first-grade debut in 2010 and went on to make 225 appearances in the NRL for Sydney Roosters, Newcastle Knights, Canberra Raiders and Wests Tigers, scoring 95 tries in total.

Leilua represented Samoa on the international stage, winning 15 caps for his country as well as representing his Samoan heritage in two World Cups.

Announcing the signing of Leilua via their social media, the Canaries posted on their Instagram: “On behalf of the Dapto Rugby League Football Club, we would like to welcome Joseph BJ Leilua to the club for the upcoming 2024 competition.

“BJ will be bringing a wealth of knowledge to the club with over 200 NRL games and 15 internationals for Samoa.”

Replying to the club via Instagram, Leilua wrote: “Can’t wait.”

View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Dapto Canaries (@daptorlfc)

Blake Austin finds new club in Australia after five-year spell in England

One of Leilua’s former Canberra team-mates, Blake Austin, has also joined a new club upon his return to Australia in the shape of The Entrance Tigers.

The Tigers are a  club based in the Central Coast region of New South Wales who compete in the Central Coast Division Rugby League and NSWRL Presidents Cup Northern Conference.

Austin, 32, recently returned to his native Australia following a five-year spell in Super League with Warrington Wolves, Leeds Rhinos and Castleford Tigers.

The former Great Britain international will settle with his family on the Central Coast, where he will line up for the Tigers, who are coached by Jarod Hamer and former Newcastle Knights player Will Pearsall.

READ NEXT: Blake Austin joins new club upon return to Australia after five years in England