Tonga leaves Centurions

Leigh Centurions have announced the departure of Willie Tonga, releasing him from his contract with immediate effect after a mutual agreement.

The 33 -year-old joined Leigh from Catalans Dragons in 2015, but has found his chances limited in the first-team of late, making just three appearances this season. The former Australia international and Queensland centre will now seek a new club, as Leigh Centurions owner Derek Beaumont indicated that Tonga will be looking for a Super League move.

Leigh Centurions owner Derek Beaumont said: “I’d like to thank Willie for his service during his time at Leigh. Willie is a consummate professional and completely dedicated to what he does, and without question when he has taken to the field he has produced outstanding performances on every occasion.

“Ultimately, as owner of a club in its first season back in Super League, it is imperative that I do what is right for the business and for his part, Willie wants to continue in Super League next season.

“Therefore, the agreement arrived and means that we can now utilise Willie’s quota spot ahead of whichever competition we find ourselves in at the end of the regular season, whilst Willie can now find a new club to play for throughout the remainder of this season and 2018. I wish him well in his future career.”

Leigh Centurions Head Coach Neil Jukes said: “I’d like to categorically reinforce everything that Derek has said about Willie. Willie has had a great impact in enhancing the culture at our Club with the professionalism he demonstrates around the place.

“I feel privileged to have played a small part in Willie’s outstanding career and as with everyone here we sincerely wish him well in the future.”

Tonga himself added: “I have had a very enjoyable time at Leigh and thank them for that and for arriving at this agreement which suits both parties. I would like to thank the players and the fans in particular for their continuous encouragement and support.

“Without a doubt they are the most loyal fans in the Super League and their passion for the club is something I will never forget. It was truly an honour and a privilege to put on the Leigh Centurions jersey and to represent the people of this great town.”