DOGS’ PLAY FOR JOEY

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - - SPORTS -

The Canterbury Bull­dogs are try­ing to sign block­bust­ing cen­tre Joey Leilua, who sur­pris­ingly has been given per­mis­sion by the Can­berra Raiders to talk to other clubs.

Leilua is un­der con­tract un­til the end of next sea­son in the na­tional cap­i­tal but will be re­leased early if he can reach an agree­ment with the Bull­dogs or any other NRL club.

His agent ap­proached the Raiders re­cently to dis­cuss a pos­si­ble con­tract ex­ten­sion.

In­stead, the 27-year-old Samoan in­ter­na­tional was told the club can­not af­ford his $600,000 salary long term be­cause of cap pres­sure.

He is also seen as a li­a­bil­ity be­cause of his ill-dis­ci­pline.

The heavy­weight cen­tre re­cently copped a two-week sus­pen­sion and gave away an eight-point try for knee­ing Manly op­po­nent Reuben Gar­rick.

Still, on his day there are few other cen­tres in the game with as much to of­fer in at­tack.

He bravely came back this year af­ter break­ing his neck.

Leilua would be a won­der­ful ac­qui­si­tion for the Bull­dogs, who des­per­ately need more oomph in the back­line out wide.

Canterbury would be Leilua’s fourth NRL club. He started at the Roost­ers be­fore stints at New­cas­tle and Can­berra, where he has played for five years. He has played 201 NRL games. He has of­ten been spo­ken about as good enough to play State of Ori­gin for the Blues.

To fit Leilua un­der the cap, Canterbury would have to look at of­fload­ing a se­nior player.

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