The Wests Tigers know they need big signings and they have another target sorted, with Isaiah Papali’i to join them from 2023.
Papali’i will join on a three-year deal with the Tigers from the 2023 season.
Papali’i, who made his NRL debut with the New Zealand Warriors, had a topsy turvy ride across the Tasman.
When his options looked dead and buried, the Parramatta Eels came knocking and gifted him a chance.
He took that chance with open arms and produced a stellar 2021 season to win the Dally M back-rower of the year award.
Still only 23, Papali’i is a Te Atuau Roosters junior from New Zealand, and his signing pleases Tigers Director of Football Tim Sheens.
“Isaiah is an exceptionally talented young forward who has shown himself to be a player with a fantastic attitude, work ethic, and drive,” Sheens said.
“We firmly believe that his best football is still ahead of him and we’re very excited to see him progress in the next steps of his rugby league career with Wests Tigers.”
In a club statement, the Eels confirmed the departure of Papali’i after the 2022 season.
“Isaiah Papali’i has informed the Eels that he will be leaving the Club in 2023.
The Club worked with Isaiah and his management team to remain with the club beyond his current contract including a significant upgrade for 2022, however, he has chosen to take up an offer with another Club.
Isaiah made a terrific contribution and has provided great value to the Club in 2021, and both Isaiah and the Club are committed to another strong year in the Blue and Gold in 2022.
We wish Isaiah and his family all the best in the future.”