Luciano Leilua sets sights on Cowboys NRL exit

Luciano Leilua’s days with the North Queensland Cowboys appear numbered after the back-rower’s management requested permission to speak with rival NRL clubs.

St George Illawarra, where Leilua played 43 games across four seasons, are believed to be one of those interested in the services of the three-cap Samoan international.

Leilua’s manager, Mario Tartak, confirmed to AAP he had initiated contact with the Cowboys to allow the forward to return to Sydney with immediate effect.

The 27-year-old is contracted with the Cowboys until the end of 2025 after leaving Wests Tigers for Townsville midway through the 2022 campaign.

Luciano Leilua.
Luciano Leilua takes on the Parramatta line during a 2023 NRL clash in Townsville.

The forward has endured an eventful time with North Queensland and was last week fined and banned from driving for a month following a low-range drink driving offence.

Leilua also faced domestic violence charges in 2022 which were later dropped by NSW Police.

While Leilua’s exit so late in the pre-season may be viewed as a disruption, it allows the Cowboys to set about retaining promising back-rowers Kulikefu Finefeuiaki and Heilum Luki.

Finefeuiaki enjoyed a breakout campaign in 2023 but comes off contract at the end of this season, while Luki has an option in his favour for the 2025 season.

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