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 has confirmed a move to second-tier rugby league in England as he attempts to keep his career going.

Leilua, who is scheduled to make his boxing debut in Australia before linking up with the Featherstone Rovers, was unceremoniously dumped by the Tigers at the end of the 2021 season.

The contract is just for a single year at this stage.

A disastrous two-year stint at the Tigers, which the centre has since labelled the worst decision of his career, saw him manage just 21 games across the two years.

He was ultimately left out of the 30-man squad who travelled to Queensland at the back end of 2021 when the NRL competition relocated.

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

Leilua has played a total of 225 NRL game since his debut as an 18-year-old in 2010 with the Sydney Roosters. He has gone on to play for the Newcastle Knights and Canberra Raiders, with a self-declaration that he was "the best centre in the game" during his time in the nation's capital.

Featherstone have played in the last two promotion play-offs, but ultimately lost in both of them with the club desperate to gain promotion to the Super League.

Head coach Brian McDermott said that Leilua's signature was another example of the club's ambitions.

“This signing is another clear demonstration of this club’s unwavering ambition and focus on gaining Super League promotion," McDermott said.

"Joey brings a level of experience and raw ability that is unrivalled in the Championship. He’ll add some serious size, strength and focussed aggression which will help this side go up to another level.

"I’ve had many conversations with Joey over the last few weeks, we’re looking forward to working together to achieve our Super League objective.”

Featherstone have a predominantly English squad, with Leilua to join Junior Moors and the recently signed Jesse Sene-Lefao as the club's overseas players. Fa'amanu Brown was also at the club, but departed at the end of the 2021 season.