St George Illawarra have announced that Dragons back-rower Luciano Leilua has extended his stay with the club for a further two seasons.
Leilua, who was off-contract at the end of 2018, will now remain at the Dragons until at least the end of the 2020 Telstra Premiership season.
The Hurstville United local junior made his NRL debut in 2016 and in 2017 earned Illawarra RLFC’s Intrust Super Premiership Player of the Year award.
“Luciano is a player who has come through all of our junior ranks and we believe he’s one of the most skilful player in our Top 30. Luciano is very important to us with his size and athleticism,” Dragons Director of Rugby League Pathways Ian Millward said.
“2017 has been a real education year for Luciano. He was in a position where he had to learn the demands of playing outside the Under-20s and full-time training, and we really believe he’s grown as a person as a result.
“His training this pre-season has been outstanding. There’s been a complete physical and mental change about the way he goes about his business. We really believe 2018 is going to be a super year for Luciano.”
While the 21-year-old didn’t feature in first grade in 2017, he has four NRL games to his name and was excited to build on that next year.
“I’m very excited to remain with my junior club. I’m really stoked to be here and it means the world to re-sign,” Leilua said.
“2017 was a rollercoaster year for me. I learnt a lot off the big boys while I continued learning my trade in the ISP. I wanted to return to pre-season training in good shape so I could give myself the best opportunity to play in the NRL in 2018.”
It the follows the likes of Gareth Widdop, Euan Aitken, Jack de Belin, Paul Vaughan, Tim Lafai, Kurt Mann, Jason Nightingale, Jai Field, Jacob Host, Blake Lawrie and Cameron McInnes who have extended their deals with the Dragons over the past 12 months.
St George Illawarra Dragons 2019 Player Movements
|2019 Gains: None|
|2019 Losses: None|
|Re-Signed: Matthew Dufty (2019), Josh Kerr (2019), Luciano Leilua (2020), Cameron McInnes (2021)|
|Off Contract 2018: Leeson Ah Mau, Mitchell Allgood, Reuben Garrick, Patrick Herbert, Jeremy Latimore, Jason Nightingale, Jordan Pereira, Hame Sele|