The Canberra Raiders have reportedly joined the race for disgruntled North Queensland Cowboys second-rower Luciano Leilua.

The powerhouse forward, who is seemingly out of favour in Townsville with Heilum Luki, Kulikefu Finefuiaki and State of Origin player Jeremiah Nanai also competing for minutes in the club's back-rower, is understood to have requested a way out of the club and the final two years of his deal.

It is believed he had previously done so for the first time mid last year, with the Raiders showing some interest then too, although the request was blocked by coach Todd Payten.

This time though, it's understood he has been given permission to negotiate with rival clubs.

It's believed Luciano has already met with the St George Illawarra Dragons and incoming coach Shane Flanagan, who is desperate for a quick turnaround and has also met with other Cowboys' forwards Luki and Finefuiaki who are both free to negotiate for 2025.

But it's the Raiders who have reportedly become the latest club to throw their hat in the ring, although it's unclear at this stage whether either club will be willing to pay the reported figure Leilua wants of around $900,000 per year.

It's understood the Dragons have rejected that price tag.

What's unclear is whether the Raiders will come to the table on the high valuation for Leilua, with the club already signing Zac Hosking in recent times to fill a void in the back-row from the Penrith Panthers.

Canberra have been chasing back-rowers though, and have made it clear the position is their recruitment target as they prepare for the retirement of Elliott Whitehead at the end of 2024, combined with the ongoing uncertainty around the future of Corey Harawira-Naera, who suffered a scary on-field medical incident in mid-2023.

The club have had cracks at David Fifita and Keaon Koloamatangi in recent times, and it's believed if they are provided dispensation for Harawira-Naera who may not be able to play, they would have the funds to bring Leilua to the club immediately.

Leilua has been with the Cowboys since his departure from the Wests Tigers in mid-2022.