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Lolohea 'perfect fit' for Moses in NRL

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 30/05/2017

Lolohea has signed a deal with the Tigers through to the end of the National Rugby 2019 season. © Anthony Au-Yeung/Getty Images Lolohea has signed a deal with the Tigers through to the end of the National Rugby 2019 season. Tuimoala Lolohea's running style makes him the perfect replacement for Mitchell Moses at the Wests Tigers, according to reunited NRL clubmate Elijah Taylor.

Lolohea has been named at No.6 for the Tigers to take on St George Illawarra on Saturday, less than a week after moving from the Warriors.

Taylor is the only member of the Tigers' squad to have trained alongside Lolohea before this week, having been at the Warriors with him in 2013.

Lolohea was then a promising junior and didn't make his debut until the following season, but Taylor saw enough to know he would slot comfortably into the Tigers' attack after the departure of Moses.

"There are a lot of similarities," Taylor said of Moses and Lolohea.

"They play what they see; they take the line on; they've both got really good feet and are both really quick."

Lolohea's talent is one of the great mysteries of New Zealand rugby league.

Exhibiting plenty of playmaking talent in his debut at 19, he has played just 30 of his 53 matches in the spine and has been in reserve grade for the most of this year.

But Taylor insisted on Tuesday that the 22-year-old would provide the creative spark the 15th-placed Tigers needed to reignite their season.

"Straight away, he fit in with the group really well," he said.

"He's a class player. It's good to see him getting a first-grade opportunity again, and here he will be a No.6.

"He was training with us yesterday. He looked really sharp. He's full of enthusiasm and there is a little bit of X-factor about him."

Taylor has an option to stay with the Tigers but that expires in a few weeks.

However, it's understood that even if time expires on that deal, it might just be to allow the Kiwi international to sign an upgraded deal at the club.

Elijah denied rumours on Tuesday he was homesick and wanted to return to New Zealand, but admitted the sacking of coach Jason Taylor had originally made him reconsider his future at the start of the season.

"You spend three months with a head coach and then, round three, you lose him," he said.

"It's not just the head coach. It's the style; it's the game plan; it's everything."

However, after having made his debut at the Warriors under then coach Ivan Cleary, he said he was happy at the Tigers as he aimed to have his future sorted in coming weeks.

"Not much has changed - I really enjoy (Ivan's) coaching style," Taylor said.

"The next two weeks, I've got to think about what I want to do ... It's a decision I'm going to take my time with. I'm really happy here."

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