After much conjecture as to whether or not he would stay with the club, the St George Illawarra Dragons have announced the re-signing of hulking back-rower Luciano Leilua for a further two seasons.
Off-contract at the end of the 2018 season, the local Hurstville United junior will look to add to his first-grade tally after making his debut in 2016.
Earning Illawarra RLFC’s Intrust Super Premiership Player of the Year Award, Leilua did not add to his first-grade games tally in 2017.
The club, however, is thrilled to have Leilua retained as they continue to push him and train him to become adept to the NRL standard.
“Luciano is a player who has come through all of our junior ranks and we believe he’s one of the most skilful players in our Top 30,” Dragons Director of Rugby League Pathways Ian Millward said.
“Luciano is very important to us with his size and athleticism.”
“2017 has been a real education year for Luciano. He was in a position where he had to learn the demands of playing outside the Under-20s and full-time training, and we really believe he’s grown as a person as a result.”
The club and Millward are confident that 2018 is set to be a big year for the promising talent.
“His training this pre-season has been outstanding,” continued Millward.
“There’s been a complete physical and mental change about the way he goes about his business.
We really believe 2018 is going to be a super year for Luciano.”
In the end, the decision was an easy one for Leilua who is proud to don the Red V jersey.
“I’m very excited to remain with my junior club. I’m really stoked to be here and it means the world to re-sign,” Leilua said.
“2017 was a rollercoaster year for me. I learnt a lot off the big boys while I continued learning my trade in the ISP.
I wanted to return to pre-season training in good shape so I could give myself the best opportunity to play in the NRL in 2018.”