Moses Suli has revealed his shock decision to ask for a release from the Wests Tigers to sign a three-year deal with the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs was because "it's what's best for my footy career".
The Tigers on Wednesday granted the winger a release, effective immediately, and released a statement which basically questioned his commitment to the club.
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Suli hit back at any claims he had not been professional with his work ethic and told NRL.com he was aiming to reach his potential at Belmore.
"It was a big call for me, but I thought it was the best for myself and the club. It was really tough for me and I didn't think it would come to this, but I guess it's what's best for my footy career," he said.
"The ankle is going really well. I had surgery, but I have recovered well. I have been given the all-clear and I'm ready to get back on the field."
Suli, who made his debut in the opening round of last year's Telstra Premiership, is expected to link with the Bulldogs as early as this week to begin the contract which will run until the end of 2020.
He said one of the main factors in his decision to become a Bulldog was his close association with the club's recruitment manager, Warren McDonell, who signed him as a precocious schoolboy when he held the same role for the Wests Tigers.
"I have known Warren since I was 15 and he has helped me a lot. I'm willing to go to the Bulldogs and get back to playing the football I know I can," he said.
"I'm excited for the move to Canterbury and I'm prepared to face every challenge that comes my way.".
The talented 19-year-old, who represented Tonga in the Pacific Test against Fiji last May, stands at 189cm and his playing weight is around 110kg but it is believed he recently tipped the scales around the 125kg mark, which left Wests Tigers officials far from impressed.
In the Wests Tigers statement, CEO Justin Pascoe said it was a difficult decision but he was satisfied it was the right one for the club.
"Moses is an exceptionally talented player. That's why over the last 12 months our coaching and personal development staff have dedicated so much time and energy in supporting Moses with his challenges, both on and off the field," he said.
I am sure if he’s willing to take responsibility, be a team player and commit to the demands of being a professional athlete he has the potential to have a successful career in rugby league.Justin Pascoe
"We are working really hard both on and off the field to build something special here at Wests Tigers. That includes building a culture and set of standards that cannot be compromised.
"I am sure if he's willing to take responsibility, be a team player and commit to the demands of being a professional athlete he has the potential to have a successful career in rugby league."
Suli's manager, Mario Tartak, and the Wests Tigers have been liaising in recent weeks to resolve the situation.
"While it's always disappointing to see player part ways with a club, the Wests Tigers have been completely transparent, professional and empathetic throughout this process," Tartak said.