Latu to depart Panthers

Leilani Latu in action. Photo: Melinda Jane

The Panthers are set to confirm the signing of James Maloney within the next 24 hours after confirming they’ve released forward Leilani Latu.

The 24-year-old’s departure should give Penrith the green light to register Maloney’s contract with the NRL.

Latu played 49 games and scored six tries for the Panthers after making his NRL debut in 2015.

“Leilani came to Panthers several years ago looking for an opportunity,” Panthers Executive General Manager Phil Gould AM said.

Leilani Latu. Photo: Melinda Jane

“Since that time he has worked extremely hard to become a representative class front row forward.

“He has been tremendous for our club and his release from Panthers is purely a salary cap management decision.

“He is a great acquisition for his new club and we wish him well in the future.”

It’s understood the Gold Coast Titans will officially announce Latu’s signature later today.

Latu was the subject of departure rumours earlier this year but shrugged them off and said he was committed to the Panthers.

However, salary cap pressure has ultimately forced him out with the Panthers needing to find room to secure Maloney’s services.

There’s rumours that several other players, mainly fringe first graders, could also be released before Christmas.