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Papali'i inks Wests Tigers deal from 2023

Barnstorming back-rower Isaiah Papali'i has confirmed the 2022 season will be his last in Eels colours before he links with the Wests Tigers on a lucrative three-year deal.

The Eels confirmed on Thursday that Papali'i, arguably one of the buys of the year this season, informed the club that he will be leaving for the Wests Tigers in 2023.

The joint venture confirmed the signing on Thursday afternoon with recently appointed director of football Tim Sheens excited about securing the Eels forward.

"Isaiah is an exceptionally talented young forward who has shown himself to be a player with a fantastic attitude, work-ethic and drive,” Sheens said.

"We firmly believe that his best football is still ahead of him and we're very excited to see him progress in the next steps of his rugby league career with Wests Tigers."

Papali'i joined the Eels in 2021 after four seasons at the Warriors where he made his NRL debut as a teenager.

The 23-year-old produced his best career numbers under Brad Arthur at the Eels this year to average over 150 metres per outing with a total seven tries, 109 tackle busts and 30 offloads across 25 games. 

"The club worked with Isaiah and his management team to remain with the club beyond his current contract including a significant upgrade for 2022, however, he has chosen to take up an offer with another club," the Eels statement read.

"Isaiah made a terrific contribution and has provided great value to the club in 2021, and both Isaiah and the club are committed to another strong year in the blue and gold in 2022.

"We wish Isaiah and his family all the best in the future."

Papali'i's departure at the Eels in another 12 months comes as the club confirmed teammate Marata Niukore will also leave to join the Warriors in 2023. 

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