Tonga tipped for Eels return - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Tonga tipped for Eels return

By Laine Clark and Wayne Heming 26/07/2011 07:00:47 PM Comments (0)

Parramatta are expected to be in the box seat to snap up Willie Tonga from 2012 after the Maroons centre was released from the final year of his North Queensland Cowboys contract.

After months of speculation linking him with the Eels, Tonga could announce within days that he is returning to Parramatta where he started his NRL career in 2002 and where his brother Esi Tonga will be playing next season.

Eels CEO Paul Osborne would not comment when contacted by AAP on Tuesday.

Tonga had also been linked with Sydney Roosters.

But the Queensland flyer is tipped to be headed for the Eels, who may have room to move under the salary cap soon following news that Daniel Mortimer has been given permission to explore his options in the UK.

A Mortimer release will reportedly free up more than $500,000 over the next two years, allowing the Eels to snap up Tonga without cutting any more players.

Cowboys general manager of football Peter Parr said the club and Tonga had reached a mutual agreement that it was best he look for a contract with another NRL club at season's end.

Parr said the Cowboys respected Tonga's decision and hoped another NRL club would soon sign the Test and Origin back.

"Willie has been a fine player for this club and we'll be sad to see him go," he said.

Tonga said his decision to leave the Cowboys a year earlier than expected was not for football-related reasons but rather for a change of lifestyle.

"I have nothing but good things to say about the Cowboys, my time with the club, the coaches I have worked with, the players I have played with and the staff here," said Tonga who first linked with the Cowboys in 2009.

"I've had a great time playing footy with the Cowboys and look forward to ending off this season on a high note.

"I have decided that I want to move away from Townsville and that's the only reason why I've come to this decision."

Tonga's departure gives the Cowboys a chance to snap up the likes of emerging stars Tariq Sims, Kalifa Faifai Loa and Ray Thompson on long-term deals.

The Eels' odds firmed after Roosters recruitment manager Peter O'Sullivan ruled out vying for Tonga.

"We are not in the market for that calibre of player," he told AAP on Tuesday.

"That is an unequivocal no."

Brought to you by AAP AAP © 2022 AAP

0 Comments about this article

Post a comment about this article

Please sign in to leave a comment.
Becoming a member is free and easy, sign up here.

« All sports news