Lolohea latest playmaker eyeing a Super League move
Wests Tigers utility Tuimoala Lolohea is the latest playmaker set to re-start his rugby league career in England's Super League, joining the likes of Blake Austin and Todd Carney in the UK from 2019.
NRL.com understands that Lolohea has been given permission by the Tigers to explore his options elsewhere for next season, with a contract at an undisclosed English outfit to be confirmed possibly as early as next week.
Super League looms as his most viable career option at this point given rival NRL clubs are understood to be interested in his services, but only with Wests Tigers paying freight on the final year of his current deal.
Lolohea arrived at the Tigers on a two-year contract last May as one of Ivan Cleary's first notable signings, but has failed to secure a first grade spot with just six appearances due to injury and form in 2018.
Cleary declined to comment on the 23-year-old's future when contacted by NRL.com.
The Tongan international had been pencilled in for the Tigers fullback role over the off-season, however issues around his conditioning saw Corey Thompson skip past him in the club's pecking order.
With Moses Mbye since linking from Canterbury and Josh Reynolds and Benji Marshall being juggled as halves partners for Luke Brooks, Lolohea's path to regular playing time has been blocked.
The last of his six games for the Tigers this year was in round 14, though it's expected Lolohea will remain at the club for the rest of 2018 to provide depth in their backline stocks.
Both Austin and Carney are England-bound next year as well, with an announcement on Austin's destination expected in coming days.
The Raiders pivot is tipped to land at Warrington after knocking back a two-year deal with Canberra last year.
Austin proved the difference and then some in the Raiders stunning come-from-behind win over Canterbury on Saturday, producing a try and three line breaks in a 14-minute cameo from the bench.
Carney meanwhile has signed a short-term deal for the rest of 2018 with Hull Kingston Rovers where he will play under former Australian Test coach Tim Sheens.
Jackson Hastings is also expected to link with Salford for the rest of the year after his tumultuous exit from Manly.