May 21, 2024

Jarome Luai has officially announced his move from the Penrith Panthers to the Wests Tigers, a decision that makes him one of the NRL’s highest-paid players. The off-contract player disclosed the details of his lucrative five-year, $6 million deal with the Tigers in a press conference organized by his management. This move draws parallels to NBA legend LeBron James famously announcing that he would “take his talents to South Beach.”

Rather than opting for the typical club-approved press release with generic statements, Luai chose to address the media at Darling Harbour, deviating from the norm. Despite the new NRL contracting rules keeping Canterbury and Cameron Ciraldo in contention, Luai eventually made the tough decision to join the Tigers after informing his Penrith teammates that the 2024 season would be his last with the club.

Acknowledging the difficulty of rejecting the Bulldogs’ interest, Luai explained that the presence of familiar faces and his close relationship with Ciraldo made the decision challenging. Following the public revelation of his decision, the 26-year-old expressed dissatisfaction and took some time away from Panthers training.

Jarome Luai won't be released early to join Wests Tigers, says Penrith  Panthers CEO

Luai admitted that coach Ivan Cleary’s concerns about the risk of making him a million-dollar player without having played alongside Nathan Cleary had some validity. Despite the shock of Cleary’s comments, Luai expressed confidence in his abilities and what he can contribute to the team.

The player will fulfill his contract with the Penrith Panthers in 2024 before becoming a key figure in the Wests Tigers’ reconstruction, where he is set to earn approximately $1.2 million per year as the marquee playmaker, taking on a prominent role in the team led by Benji Marshall.

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