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Lolohea links with Wests Tigers

NZN 29/05/2017 Matt Encarnacion

Tuimoala Lolohea can play for the Wests Tigers as early as Saturday's NRL clash against St George Illawarra after joining his new teammates for training on Monday.

The Tigers on Monday confirmed signing the utility to a two-and-a-half-year deal following his long-awaited release from the Warriors last week.

The Tigers will consider him for selection when their round-13 team is named on Tuesday.

Tigers coach Ivan Cleary believes he can help Lolohea, a former New Zealand international, reach his full potential at Concord.

"Tui has shown that he is a player of tremendous natural talent. We look forward to helping him develop, and reach his true potential, in the coming years," Cleary said.

Tigers chief executive Justin Pascoe echoed Cleary's comments.

"At just 22 years of age he's already represented both New Zealand and Tonga and we're keen to see him take his game to the next level here," he said.

Lolohea is likely to partner Luke Brooks in the halves this season but widely tipped to be the club's long-term solution at fullback in place of Sydney Roosters-bound James Tedesco.

His arrival is the latest signing in a flurry of recruitment for the club, with Josh Reynolds, Russell Packer, Ben Matulino and Chris McQueen set to join the Tigers next year.

The activity follows the controversial mid-season exit of Mitchell Moses to Parramatta, as well as Tedesco and captain Aaron Woods, who is headed to Canterbury, at the end of the year.

It also means Cleary's rebuild is in full swing, with first-grade regulars Josh Aloiai, Michael Chee Kam, David Nofoaluma, Moses Suli and Brooks also re-signing this year.

POSSIBLE WESTS TIGERS TEAM IN 2018

Tuimoala Lolohea, David Nofoaluma, Moses Suli, Michael Chee Kam, Malakai Watene-Zelezniak, Josh Reynolds, Luke Brooks, Russell Packer, Jacob Liddle, Ben Matulino, Chris Lawrence, Chris McQueen, Elijah Taylor. Bench: Josh Aloiai, JJ Felise, Sauaso Sue, Tyson Gamble.

Off-contract: Matt Ballin, Joel Edwards, Tim Grant, Justin Hunt, Jamal Idris, Jack Littlejohn, Kyle Lovett, Matt McIlwrick, Kevin Naiqama, Jordan Rankin.

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