He’s been the subject of rumours for the last few weeks, but Panthers interchange forward Leilani Latu has denied he wants out of the club.
Fronting the media this afternoon, the 24-year-old Tongan international was forced to answer questions regarding his future, despite being contracted to the Panthers until the end of the 2020 season.
It’s been reported that the towering prop was unhappy at the foot of the Mountains and was in early talks with three clubs – New Zealand, Newcastle and Parramatta – to play out his future elsewhere.
“It beats me where these rumours are coming from,” Latu said.
“I actually got questioned by my teammates about the situation and I told them I’m not going anywhere.”
Latu confirmed he had spoken to Panthers boss Phil Gould as soon as the news was reported.
“I spoke to my manager about it, I spoke to Gus about it – I did that on the first day that I found out [about the rumours],” he said.
“Since then I haven’t looked into all the rumours and what everyone is saying about me.”
Latu, who made his first grade debut with the Panthers back in 2015, burst onto the scene with plenty of promise, largely thanks to his size and ball-playing skills. However, this season he’s struggled to find the form that saw him selected for City Origin last year.
When pressed if he was still happy at the club, the Bulldogs junior reiterated how much he loved playing at Penrith.
“I love this club, I love my teammates, I love the coach, I love the community here and our fanbase. Everything here is going well for me,” he said.
“I’m here until 2020, and each week I plan to give it my best for this club.”
Nathan Taylor is the Weekender’s Deputy Editor and Senior Sports Writer. He also compiles the weekly Chatter on the Box TV column. Nathan is an award-winning journalist, who has worked at the Weekender for nearly a decade.