The Parramatta Eels today announced Queensland and Australian Test centre Willie Tonga will join the club on a two year deal from 2012.
Tonga, 28, will join new Eels 2012 recruits Chris Sandow, Ben Roberts, and his younger brother Esi at the club after finishing this season with the North Queensland Cowboys.
Eels Chief Executive Paul Osborne said Tonga’s signing was an emphatic reflection of the club’s direction under head coach Stephen Kearney.
“Willie is without doubt one of the best centres in the world and we’re excited he’s decided to return home to the Eels in the prime of his career,” Osborne said.
“When a player of Willie’s calibre is impressed with what we’re building here, it’s a strong sign to everyone we’ve got exciting times ahead of us.
“The re-signings of our young talent such as Jacob Loko, Taniela Lasalo, Mitch Allgood and Ryan Morgan in addition to the players joining us next year suggests our recruitment and retention strategies moving forward are on the right track.”
Eels coach Stephen Kearney said Tonga would be an enormous boost to a roster which had performed strongly all year, despite a run of close losses crippling the team’s 2011 season.