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)

Wests Tigers star Joey Leilua has departed the club for family reasons, reports The Daily Telegraph.

The move breaks the NRL’s biosecurity protocols, which means he will be sidelined for at least 14 days if he returns to the bubble.

It is believed that the centre returned to Canberra to be with his family and it it unclear if he has plans to play in the NRL again this season.

The Tigers confirmed Leilua’s departure in a statement on the club website.

“Wests Tigers have today confirmed that centre Joey Leilua has returned to Canberra due to personal family reasons,” the statement reads.

“Having voluntarily left the club’s bubble, Leilua will be placed in a temporary COVID hold as per NRL guidelines.

“Wests Tigers have informed the Project Apollo Group and will await further advice after consideration of all circumstances.”

Leiula only just returned from a four-game suspension in the Tigers’ loss to Newcastle.

He and brother Luciano joined the Tigers this year to play together in the NRL for the first time.

Joey’s decision to depart the club comes just days out from their must-win game against Canterbury.

The Tigers currently sit 10th and are unlikely to make finals from here.

They go head-to-head with the Bulldogs at Bankwest Stadium on Sunday at 4.05pm AEST.