Cousins could link up at Canberra
Having already announced he's leaving Newcastle at season's end, Joey Leilua has become increasingly interested about Ricky Stuart's Canberra team, according to Raiders back-rower and Leilua's "distant cousin" Iosia Soliola.
With rumours rife Leilua is set to link up with the Raiders for the 2016 season and beyond, Soliola – speaking after the Raiders' 44-22 win over Leilua's Knights – said that the Newcastle centre has, in their frequent chats, inquired about the Raiders in another sign the 23-year-old is set to sign with the Green Machine.
"[Joey is] always curious about what the Raiders are about moving forward," Soliola told NRL.com.
"We always get in touch every now and then, it's hard because we're generally quite busy with our different schedules but our parents are always together.
"Joey's parents live in Bardwell Park and mine are in Mascot so you can imagine they're always chatting away and with one another.
"I've kind of just left it up to him to decide whether he wants to come here or not. At the end of the day it's his decision but he'll be a great addition to the team if he does end up signing."
While he remained coy about revealing anything else about Leilua's potential move to the nation's capital, Soliola was very complimentary of the centre despite his indifferent form of late.
"I think every club, no matter which, would love him in their team. He's one of those strike players that can create something out of nothing," Soliola said of Leilua who is averaging 117.8 metres per game this season.
"No matter where he is on the field, left or right – it doesn't matter he'll be a danger man. I think the club, any club, would be happy to have someone like Joey in the team."
Speaking of contracts, Soliola is hopeful veteran prop David Shillington will stick around at the Raiders beyond this season considering his recent brilliant form.
Against Newcastle, Shillington made 201 metres and 19 tackles in what was only his fourth NRL game of the season after being either overlooked or out injured.
"He's been there on the big stages in the past and he knows what's required of himself and what the club expects of him as well," Soliola said.
"So it's no surprise he has come back and managed to do his thing at the moment. Full credit to him, he's had a tough year with his pectoral and then his thumb. And to come back from that, it shows the mental resilience of him."
Meanwhile, Raiders coach Ricky Stuart said he'll decide on whether to appeal his $20,000 NRL fine on Tuesday following his walking out of a post-game press conference after just 24 seconds last weekend.
"I'll sit down with Don [CEO Furner] and Allan Hawke [Raiders director] on Tuesday and discuss everything then," Stuart said.
"Until then there's no point talking about it."