Barnstorming backrower Luciano Leilua is stuck in NRL limbo after suddenly quitting Wests Tigers on Tuesday.
The Tigers released a statement revealing the 26-year-old had been granted an immediate release, bringing his time at Concord to an end.
Leilua had already signed a deal to join North Queensland next year, so it was assumed his early exit from the Tigers meant he would team up with the Cowboys this week.
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The Cowboys, though, have not announced any news on the subject, and the club’s football manager Michael Luck told SEN radio that a contract was far from finalised.
“What I’ll say about that, is we’ve asked the question… and that’s where it’s at at the moment. There is still a bit of water to go under the bridge there. Nothing in writing, anyway,” Luck said.
“We would love to get (Leilua). He makes us a better team, particularly with the injuries we’ve had now to (Luki) Heilum and to Tommy Gilbert.
“We’ve asked a question of Luciano’s management to try negotiate a release with the Tigers, and hopefully that plays out over the next few days.”
Luck’s comments, bizarrely, came a day after the Tigers confirmed Leilua’s immediate release.
But the Cowboys football manager suggested the Concord club may have jumped the gun in setting fire to the player’s contract.
It’s left Leilua without a club, and he won’t be able to play for the Cowboys until a contract is green-lit by the NRL.
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“We’re a club that likes to do its due diligence and make sure every box is ticked. Potentially there aren’t other clubs that operate like that,” Luck said.
“We are going through the process. We’ve asked the question and we want to get Luciano, but it’s not a done deal yet.”
The Cowboys sit in third spot on the competition ladder and loom as a genuine premiership chance this year.
The Tigers, meanwhile, have sacked coach Michael Maguire and are in the midst of a 12-year finals drought.
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