Tigers ‘Ric Flair’ finds bite to back up the bark

Luciano Leilua might bark and howl like a dog in the middle of a training session.

Or he might let rip with a giant fist pump like he’s starting an invisible chainsaw to celebrate a try.

Or he might just let out a great, bellowing “WHOOOOO!” for no reason at all, other than making sure his Tigers teammates get as fired up as possible.

Just be sure of this - Luciano Leilua will gee up the boys at all costs and at all times, by any means necessary.

“The boys love it,” Leilua told The Daily Telegraph.

“They call me Ric Flair.

“I’ve been watching some NFL chants to try and get the boys hyped up. They’re hectic, so I try and send them out to the boys.”

But there’s plenty of bite to Leilua’s bark, and it’s why the 24-year old has quietly - or loudly, if you’re close enough to hear him - become one of the best signings of 2020.

Leilua has become a fixture on the left edge for the Tigers. Talent was never a question for the hulking backrower, but he struggled to land a consistent spot at the Dragons, playing just 43 games in four seasons in the NRL.

But since linking up with Michael Maguire at the Tigers, Leilua has blossomed. He’s recording career highs in minutes, average metres per game and tackles per game while retaining the uncommon skill and blockbusting running that got him into the top grade.

Emulating “The Nature Boy” is part of his transformation - it’s something only a personality like Leilua can do, and it’s turned him into an unlikely leader for Maguire’s Tigers.

“I just try and bring whatever energy I have left to keep it rolling,” Leilua said.

“If someone has more energy than you it makes you feel like you don’t have any, it’s sort of like a mind game.

“You have to try and get in their heads, make them think you have more than them.

“It brings the whole training session up, it lifts the intensity. I really wanted to come here and bring that leadership. Madge is big on everyone being their own leader.

Strength and conditioning guru Ronnie Palmer was full of praise for Leilua’s commitment to changing his lifestyle in order to fulfil his potential.

“During the break he really became a self-motivator,” Palmer said.

“He’s really worked hard on his diet and his training, and he’s gotten stronger, quicker and more agile, and his headspace is a whole lot better than it’s been.

“He’s a more superior athlete than he has been in the past, and there’s more to come, I think.

“Even when he wasn’t with us I always admired how silky he was with his skills, he’s a very, very talented footballer.

“But what probably let him down in the past was that lack of fitness, doing repeat efforts. But he’s now doing that a lot more.

“He’s able to do repeat efforts, he’s explosive and he’s tough.”

For Leilua, it was Maguire’s belief in him that helped the Samoan international find his own confidence.

This kind of play was probably always somewhere within Leilua - and so was the barking, and the chainsaw and the Ric Flair impressions - but it took Maguire to unlock it.

“Coming here with Madge and our strength and conditioning, it changed me,” Leilua said.

“It changed my mindsight, and helped me get my body right to play the full 80. I trained my butt off during iso to stay ready.

“Madge has been great for me because he believes in me, and he knows I can do it, so it gives me the confidence to go out there and play the 80.”

Does he give the ladies a ride on space mountain?

Our own Nature Boy 👍how cool ! Good to have a Personality in the club the world is becoming so boring…

When Madge first arrived at our club,many were saying he is a good coach but players cant handle his training regime,it lead to believe that’s why he left Souths and why apparently Matto left…

But put all that aside and evaluate what he has done so far at our club and with this squad…
they are playing better football,striving for the 80 minute game,believing in each other and there is a change of culture developing within the club…

The biggest thing for me is that Madge appears to be a true man manager,as Luci said" Madge believes in me"…
That is the main thing anyone either athlete,coach or manager has to have to excel ““BELIEF””…
And I think that is whats happening now at our club…
Its got to be a good thing don’t you guys and girls agree…

@TrueTiger said in Tigers ‘Ric Flair’ finds bite to back up the bark:

When Madge first arrived at our club,many were saying he is a good coach but players cant handle his training regime,it lead to believe that’s why he left Souths and why apparently Matto left…

But put all that aside and evaluate what he has done so far at our club and with this squad…
they are playing better football,striving for the 80 minute game,believing in each other and there is a change of culture developing within the club…

The biggest thing for me is that Madge appears to be a true man manager,as Luci said" Madge believes in me"…
That is the main thing anyone either athlete,coach or manager has to have to excel ““BELIEF””…
And I think that is whats happening now at our club…
Its got to be a good thing don’t you guys and girls agree…

Definitely a good thing. Madge is an honest coach and he’ll tell you exactly what you did wrong which I think is a good thing as well. Definitely seems like our boys are happy playing under him and I like the fact he tells everyone to be their own leader

@TrueTiger said in Tigers ‘Ric Flair’ finds bite to back up the bark:

When Madge first arrived at our club,many were saying he is a good coach but players cant handle his training regime,it lead to believe that’s why he left Souths and why apparently Matto left…

But put all that aside and evaluate what he has done so far at our club and with this squad…
they are playing better football,striving for the 80 minute game,believing in each other and there is a change of culture developing within the club…

The biggest thing for me is that Madge appears to be a true man manager,as Luci said" Madge believes in me"…
That is the main thing anyone either athlete,coach or manager has to have to excel ““BELIEF””…
And I think that is whats happening now at our club…
Its got to be a good thing don’t you guys and girls agree…

I really believe in Madge and as long as he can sign/retain the players that fit his bill, then we really are on the up. I was pissed when Matto left, but I guess things like this happen when you change coaches over a short period of time. Matto definitely is talented but I wouldnt want him next to me when things are down. He has proven he has no spine or courage. LL on the other hand has really impressed me and I wasn’t really expecting that much from him, he is thriving and seems to enjoy Madges tough stance on performance.j hi

last edited by Tcat

You’d be surprised how much that enthusiasm has an effect. Same as Josh Reynolds.

Sure we lost matto, but this kid excels in other areas. Certainly attitude!

Becoming a big fan of his. Would like to start seeing him break through the line a bit more, using his power a bit more. But it’s balance between getting right for 80 mins and making powerful runs.

last edited by balmain boy

One of our best last week. Developing into a seriously good player.

@TrueTiger said in Tigers ‘Ric Flair’ finds bite to back up the bark:

When Madge first arrived at our club,many were saying he is a good coach but players cant handle his training regime,it lead to believe that’s why he left Souths and why apparently Matto left…

But put all that aside and evaluate what he has done so far at our club and with this squad…
they are playing better football,striving for the 80 minute game,believing in each other and there is a change of culture developing within the club…

The biggest thing for me is that Madge appears to be a true man manager,as Luci said" Madge believes in me"…
That is the main thing anyone either athlete,coach or manager has to have to excel ““BELIEF””…
And I think that is whats happening now at our club…
Its got to be a good thing don’t you guys and girls agree…

Too early to tell TT , looks good but if the players burnout like what happened at Souths …

@happy_tiger said in Tigers ‘Ric Flair’ finds bite to back up the bark:

@TrueTiger said in Tigers ‘Ric Flair’ finds bite to back up the bark:

When Madge first arrived at our club,many were saying he is a good coach but players cant handle his training regime,it lead to believe that’s why he left Souths and why apparently Matto left…

But put all that aside and evaluate what he has done so far at our club and with this squad…
they are playing better football,striving for the 80 minute game,believing in each other and there is a change of culture developing within the club…

The biggest thing for me is that Madge appears to be a true man manager,as Luci said" Madge believes in me"…
That is the main thing anyone either athlete,coach or manager has to have to excel ““BELIEF””…
And I think that is whats happening now at our club…
Its got to be a good thing don’t you guys and girls agree…

Too early to tell TT , looks good but if the players burnout like what happened at Souths …

As long as the players keep buying into it there’ll be no ‘burnout’. Helps having Andrew gray as head of performance he can help look after the players

@happy_tiger said in Tigers ‘Ric Flair’ finds bite to back up the bark:

@TrueTiger said in Tigers ‘Ric Flair’ finds bite to back up the bark:

When Madge first arrived at our club,many were saying he is a good coach but players cant handle his training regime,it lead to believe that’s why he left Souths and why apparently Matto left…

But put all that aside and evaluate what he has done so far at our club and with this squad…
they are playing better football,striving for the 80 minute game,believing in each other and there is a change of culture developing within the club…

The biggest thing for me is that Madge appears to be a true man manager,as Luci said" Madge believes in me"…
That is the main thing anyone either athlete,coach or manager has to have to excel ““BELIEF””…
And I think that is whats happening now at our club…
Its got to be a good thing don’t you guys and girls agree…

Too early to tell TT , looks good but if the players burnout like what happened at Souths …

But don’t you think its up to the players to excel in the game especially at NRL level…
Tough training and fitness is paramount to the game,if Madge is to hard on them then he would know if they are burning out,it would be ““cutting off your nose despite your face””,he wouldn’t have competitive players on the field they would be in rehab or on the bench,Im sure he wouldn’t want that…

@happy_tiger said in Tigers ‘Ric Flair’ finds bite to back up the bark:

@TrueTiger said in Tigers ‘Ric Flair’ finds bite to back up the bark:

When Madge first arrived at our club,many were saying he is a good coach but players cant handle his training regime,it lead to believe that’s why he left Souths and why apparently Matto left…

But put all that aside and evaluate what he has done so far at our club and with this squad…
they are playing better football,striving for the 80 minute game,believing in each other and there is a change of culture developing within the club…

The biggest thing for me is that Madge appears to be a true man manager,as Luci said" Madge believes in me"…
That is the main thing anyone either athlete,coach or manager has to have to excel ““BELIEF””…
And I think that is whats happening now at our club…
Its got to be a good thing don’t you guys and girls agree…

Too early to tell TT , looks good but if the players burnout like what happened at Souths …

Do we really know that is what happened out Souffs? That is the narrative, but Ive heard its just as likely he was whiteanted by Siebold and based on Seibolds subsequent efforts, its as likely IMO,

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