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Thursday, February 29, 2024

Cowboys forward Luciano Leilua linked with shock return to Dragons

Luciano Leilua has reportedly requested an early release from his contract with the Cowboys, with the star second-rower linked with a shock NRL return to the Dragons.

The Sydney Morning Herald reports the 27-year-old has formally asked for a move away from North Queensland, with the club unlikely to stand in his way after a difficult run off the field for the Samoan international.

Leilua was recently charged with low-range drink driving, incurring a $300 fine and one-month suspension from driving, with the NRL integrity unit still investigating the matter.

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He also fronted court on domestic violence charges stemming from a 2022 incident in Sydney after joining the Cowboys, but the police dropped all charges.

St George Illawarra have been on the hunt for a marquee signing since Shane Flanagan took over the reins as head coach, but ultimately missed out on the likes of Tom Dearden and Addin Fonua-Blake in major blows to the club’s recruitment plans.

However, a possible return for Leilua – who came through the junior rep system and lower grades in the St George area – would add some much-needed class and power to their often-criticised forward pack.

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With over 123 first grade games to his name across stints with the Dragons, Tigers and Cowboys, Leilua would provide plenty of experience and upside for Flanagan to utilise.

The club would need to free up a spot in their top 30 roster in order to sign Leilua, with the Saints landing Christian Tuipolotu and Raymond Faitala-Mariner in recent weeks. 

At this stage, neither club has formally commented on a potential transfer. 

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