SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 19: Tuimoala Lolohea of the Tigers passes the ball during the round 24 NRL match between the Sydney Roosters and the Wests Tigers at Allianz Stadium on August 19, 2017 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Matt Blyth/Getty Images)

The Wests Tigers have confirmed the departure of utility Tuimoala Lolohea, with the club releasing him from the final year of his contract to take up a lucrative deal with Super League club Leeds Rhinos.

The 23-year-old joined the Wests Tigers midway through last season and has played 23 games for the club since then.

Leeds recently announced Kevin Sinfield will become their first director of rugby taking charge of all first-team matters, with Lolohea being his first signing.

“We are delighted to have captured a player of the quality of Tui for next season,” said Sinfield.

“It is rare in the modern game for any Super League club to sign an international-class 23-year-old from the NRL and I am sure he will be a popular addition to our squad.”

Lolohea also expressed excitement about the career change.

“I am really excited, it is a long way from home but a different challenge for me and something I am looking forward to,” Lolohea said.

“It will be very different for me and a new way of life. I am still really young and this is a big journey for me and I want to make the most of my career and my time in England.

“I have had a couple of injuries this year that have held me back a bit but I am looking forward to finishing the season strongly with the Tigers and then making the most of the opportunity to come over to Super League.”

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