After being granted an early release from the Melbourne Storm to take up a new opportunity, ex-NRL forward Aaron Pene has finally confirmed his new destination.

Following weeks of speculation about joining Leigh Leopards in the Super League, the club has confirmed his arrival and announced he has signed a two-and-half-year contract until the end of the 2026 season.

Starting his career at the Melbourne Storm in 2020, the front-rower managed 32 NRL appearances for the club - across two stints - and the New Zealand Warriors.

Aaron Pene is a real Adrian Lam style of Rugby League player. He's someone we've been working to bring in for a while and I'm looking forward to working with him," coach Adrian Lam said in a statement.

Playing for the Canterbury Bulldogs and Parramatta Eels as a junior, Pene is of German and Samoan heritage and has most recently been running out for the Sunshine Coast Falcons in the QLD Cup.

“This is a brilliant signing for the club who I've been tracking for the last 12 months. It's a signing fans should be really excited by," Leopards Head of Rugby Chris Chester added.

“He's an explosive and powerful player who brings NRL experience and he's someone who can add a lot this season and beyond.”