NRL transfer news: Joey Leilua to reject Wests Tigers’ $800,000 pay cut offer
Joey Leilua will snub Wests Tigers’ embarrassing cut-price offer as he eyes a shock move to the 15-man game.
3 min read
October 18, 2021 - 5:06PM
News Corp Australia Sports Newsroom
This would be among the biggest pay cuts in rugby league’s 113-year history.
Wests Tigers have offered star centre Joey ‘BJ’ Leilua – who was once earning $850,000 a season – a train and trial contract worth just $1000 a week.
And that equates to a pay cut of more than $800,000 a season.
It is a massive cash reduction for a highly skilled player who contested the 2019 grand final and was once touted as a possible NSW centre.
The Daily Telegraph has been told Leilua will reject Wests Tigers’ offer and seek to continue his career playing rugby union in America.
Sources close to Leilua are planning to cut up and send some vision of his performances to US rugby clubs playing in the 12-team Major League Rugby competition.
Leilua arrived at Concord in 2020 but has failed to rediscover the form which made him an elite player during a five year tenure at Canberra.
He managed to secure a contract worth around $850,000 a season during his time at Canberra.
Wests Tigers elected against activating a contract extension for 2022 but offered him a standard trial and train and trail deal worth $1000 a week.
That’s about $600 in the hand.
NRL train and trail offers could last anywhere between eight weeks to a year, depending on whether the club required him. At very best, he could earn $50,000. At worst, just $8000.
Leilua’s salary slice would sit alongside Ash Taylor, who endured a similar financial fate when moving from Gold Coast to the Warriors.
Still just 29, Leilua is also exploring a possible shift to England’s Super League.
At his best, and when focused, Leilua can be among the NRL’s most damaging centres. He has though found consistency to be his greatest challenge in recent years.
While reluctant to sign him, some NRL club recruitment managers believe buying Leilua cheap could be a risk worth taking.
There is an outside chance Leilua could retire but he does have a desire to continue playing for several more years.
Leilua told The Daily Telegraph last month he was prepared to move from centre to backrow, or even front-row, to increase his versatility and potentially extend his NRL career.
There was even a suggestion last month that Leilua may look to a boxing career after footy.
Leilua played in two NRL grand finals and was twice named Dally M centre of the year. He was dropped to reserve grade by Wests Tigers coach Michael Maguire earlier this year.
geez Joey woukd carve up u.s. rugby competition