June 21, 2024

He is understood to have made a decision about his future. Reports indicate that the Wests Tigers have secured the signature of off-contract Penrith Panthers’ star Sunia Turuva.

Season Snapshot: Sunia Turuva | Official website of the Penrith Panthers

The Wests Tigers have reportedly secured the signature of off-contract Penrith Panthers’ star Sunia Turuva. The winger, who claimed the Dally M rookie of the year award in 2023 and aims to transition into a fullback role throughout his career, has been in discussions with both the Panthers and other clubs in recent weeks.

According to The Sydney Morning Herald, Turuva informed his teammates on Thursday morning of his decision to join the Wests Tigers on a three-year deal valued at around $1.3 million, equating to approximately $450,000 per season.

Already a standout for the Fijian national team, where he has excelled at fullback, Turuva had reportedly received a lucrative offer from the St George Illawarra Dragons, surpassing Penrith’s reported $350,000 offer by at least $100,000 annually. Additionally, the Dragons presented Turuva with the opportunity to compete for the number one jersey, currently held by Tyrell Sloan.

Although Penrith was keen to retain Turuva, he found himself behind Dylan Edwards in the pecking order for the fullback position under Ivan Cleary’s coaching. Despite expressing a preference to remain with the Panthers, Turuva sought financial security for his family and a chance to compete for the starting fullback role.

While the Tigers, under the leadership of head coach Benji Marshall, may consider Turuva’s aspirations to vie for the fullback position, it remains uncertain if they would entertain the notion of displacing promising youngster Jahream Bula for the jersey.

Turuva shares familial ties with Tigers’ captain Apisai Koroisau and joins fellow Panther Jarome Luai in making the move from the foot of the mountains.

Penrith’s ability to increase their offer to Turuva was limited following recent contract extensions and upgrades for several outside backs, including Taylan May and Izack Tago, as well as existing significant contracts across their squad. Nevertheless, the Panthers boast a pool of talented youngsters, alongside NRL-experienced Paul Alamoti, who are poised to compete for Turuva’s position next season.

NRL 2024: Tigers sign Sunia Turuva, Canberra Raiders sign Eels halfback  Ethan Sanders | Townsville Bulletin

Meanwhile, the Tigers are strengthening their backline, with Turuva expected to feature alongside Jahream Bula and Justin Olam, potentially filling the void left by Junior Tupou, who departed for the Dolphins ahead of the 2024 season.

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