NRL Rd 1 - Dragons v Wests Tigers
WOLLONGONG, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 15: Joey Leilua of the Tigers is pictured during the round 1 NRL match between the St George Illawarra Dragons and the Wests Tigers at WIN Stadium on March 15, 2020 in Wollongong, Australia. (Photo by Brett Hemmings/Getty Images)

Joseph Leilua may be forced to explore a switch to rugby union in an attempt to keep his sporting career alive.

The big centre, who once dubbed himself the best in the game, has been told by the Wests Tigers that there will be no top 30 contract on the table at this stage for 2022.

Leilua's form throughout his rare appearances in 2021 was poor to say the least, and he had seemingly completely and utterly fallen out of favour in Michael Maguire's set up at Concord.

The Tigers have, however, reportedly offered Leilua a train and trial contract for the summer, something they have also reportedly offered to another centre in James Roberts. One of the fastest men in the game did have a team option with the club, however, that has reportedly not been activated.

The Daily Telegraph report however that Leilua won't take up the option, which would hand him an $800,000 pay cut annually, although the train and trial period is said to only be for around eight weeks.

If Leilua was to impress during that period, the Tigers could then offer him a one-year deal on a price close to the minimum allowable NRL wage.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - MAY 08: James Roberts of the Tigers looks on during the round nine NRL match between the Wests Tigers and the Gold Coast Titans at Campbelltown Sports Stadium, on May 08, 2021, in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

However, the reports suggest he is more likely to sign a contract to play rugby union in the United States of America in the Major League Rugby competition.

A switch to the 15-man game would complete a dramatic fall from grace for Leilua, who was signed on a mammoth $850,000 per year deal when he shifted to the Tigers ahead of the 2020 season.

JOSEPH LEILUA
Centre
Wests Tigers
2021 SEASON AVG
0.3
Try Assists
0.3
LB Assists
0.3
Tries

He once combined with Jordan Rapana at the Canberra Raiders to form a nearly unstoppable edge combination.

Those days, however, are long gone. Leilua's form has been nothing of what it was in the nation's capital, playing just 20 games across two seasons with his new club.

The 29-year-old reportedly still has some interest in the NRL, given how brutal he is at his best, however, clubs are reportedly unsure and hesitant over making him a deal.