After a brief Wests Tigers stint, Tui Lolohea will take his abilities to England after signing with the Leeds Rhinos.
What made his decision easier was having previously played at Headingley, when he was a part of the New Zealand Kiwis side in 2015.
“I have always remembered that game back in 2015 when I played at Emerald Headingley with the Kiwis,” the utility back said.
“The singing and support for the Leeds boys was amazing and I can’t wait to play for those supporters.
In the end, the passion of the fans stuck with him and that prompted his decision to sign for Leeds.
“That game was Kylie Leuluai’s farewell game for the club and I remember the warmth and passion the supporters had for him and the team, that was special,” Lolohea continued.
“People talk about the passion that the English fans have for the game but I had seen it for myself and it was definitely a factor when I was thinking about who to sign for.”
Although he is a long way from home, the move excites Lolohea and he wants to take the chance presented to him.
“I am really excited, it is a long way from home but a different challenge for me and something I am looking forward to,” Lolohea said.
“I want to be part of the Rhinos team and I can hopefully bring my energy to the game over there.
“It will be very different for me and a new way of life.
I am still really young and this is a big journey for me and I want to make the most of my career and my time in England.”
With the move now sorted, Lolohea’s sights are focused on finishing his 2018 season with the Tigers strongly.
“I have had a couple of injuries this year that have held me back at bit but I am looking forward to finishing the season strongly with the Tigers and then making the most of the opportunity to come over to Super League,” added Lolohea.
Recently appointed Director of Rugby Kevin Sinfield praised the signing and knows Lolohea will be a good addition to the side.
“I have seen Kevin play for a number of years and admired him,” Sinfield said.
“The professional level that he brought to his whole playing career is going to be massive for the whole team.
I am looking forward to being part of his team.”
In a brief statement released by the Wests Tigers, the club thanked Lolohea for his service to the club and wish him well upon his departure at season’s end.