Much-needed victory: Tigers officially win race for Luai signature | The Sporting Base

Much-needed victory: Tigers officially win race for Luai signature

January 3, 2024

Much-needed victory: Tigers officially win race for Luai signature

The Wests Tigers have scored one of the biggest scalps in the club’s history, beating out several NRL suitors to sign three-time premiership winner Jarome Luai to a five-year deal from the 2025 season.

Luai met with Canterbury Bulldogs as well as the Tigers, and held several talks with the Penrith Panthers, but eventually took up Wests’ offer; a half-decade deal worth $6 million.

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The deal was originally agreed some days ago, but the NRL recently implemented a 10-day cooling period where the player’s current club could submit a new bid. The Panthers bosses declined the period and gave Luai their blessing to leave.

“The obvious reason [to join the Tigers] was it was a great opportunity for me to provide and create for my family, and also to create for myself,” Luai said after the signing was announced. “I’ve had a great connection with Benji [Marshall], we’ve spoken about the future and what he sees in me and moving forward. I’m really excited about it.”

Luai will leave the Panthers having played more than 100 games for his junior club since debuting in 2018. Heading into the 2024 campaign, the star five-eighth has already made 107 appearances in six seasons.

Though Nathan Cleary has been the main man for the team for some time now, Luai has played a key role alongside him and guided the Panthers to key victories several times while Cleary was injured (or in some cases, suspended). Luai, alongside many of the Penrith squad, is now a three-time premiership winner and even has the chance to win four straight titles with the western club in his swan song season.

Coach Benji Marshall, who The Sporting Base understands played a very key role in enticing Luai, said he was excited to get the 26-year-old into the team to share his experience as “a genuine premiership-winning playmaker.” He will take on a leadership role in the squad quite quickly, Marshall has confirmed.

“We love the way Jarome plays his footy and even better, he is a great person. We very much look forward to welcoming Jarome and his family to our club in 2025,” said Marshall.

Luai will play the 2024 NRL season with the Panthers before moving.

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