Raiders sign Leilua for 2015 NRL season

Joseph Leilua will meet his new Canberra teammates on Thursday after signing with the club for the remainder of the NRL season.

The Raiders confirmed the much-speculated move on Wednesday afternoon, two days after the centre was granted an immediate release by Newcastle.

“It’s a new opportunity for me and I’m really excited about joining the Raiders,” Leilua said in a statement.

“I know a few of the players like Sia Soliola and Frank-Paul Nuuausala and they speak highly of the club and (coach) Ricky Stuart so I can’t wait to get out there with the boys.”

Raiders chief executive Don Furner said they were working closely with Leilua and his management on securing a deal beyond 2015 and are hopeful of finalising a contract in the coming days.

“Joseph is a very talented player who will look to make an impact with the Raiders,” Furner said.

“He’s another player we’ve recruited which helps us to continue to build a great playing roster.”

The 23 year-old was originally contracted to the Knights until the end of 2016, but exercised a clause that allowed him to be released if former coach Wayne Bennett left the club.

Leilua played 54 NRL games in red and blue after joining from the Sydney Roosters in 2013.

While he had intended to stay at the club until the end of the season, coach Rick Stone said the Knights wanted to make a stand against players who weren’t committed.

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