Isaiah Papali’i joins Penrith on three-year deal

Isaiah Papali'i is joining Penrith from Wests. Photo: NRL Photos.
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Penrith have landed New Zealand international Isaiah Papali’i on a three-year deal starting from next season.

Papali’i has signed a three year deal with the Panthers after being released from the final year of his contract with the Wests Tigers.

Since making his NRL debut in 2017, Papali’i has played 148 first grade games for the Warriors, Eels and Wests Tigers.

“We’re thrilled to have secured Isaiah’s services for the next three seasons,” Panthers Rugby League CEO Matt Cameron said.

“Not only does Isaiah bring a wealth of experience and leadership capabilities to our club, but he’s also a world-class forward who has proven himself at the highest level.”

Isaiah Papali’i. Photo: NRL Photos.

The 25-year-old, who was named the Dally M Second Rower of the Year in 2021, has represented New Zealand on 10 occasions and played one Test match for Toa Samoa in 2018.

“Isaiah is a talented player, displaying not only exceptional skills but also a great attitude and work ethic,” Panthers General Manager of Rugby League Shane Elford said.

“We believe he will thrive in the Panthers system and we’re eager to see his continued career progression at our club.”

Wests Tigers CEO Shane Richardson says the decision to release Papali’i has been made to better manage the club’s salary cap.

“This is purely about getting our salary cap in better shape and it’s not a simple thing to do,” he said.

“Effective salary cap management is so important in this business, and it’s a puzzle you simply must get right if you want to be a successful NRL club.”

Isaiah Papali’i. Photo: NRL Photos.

Tigers Coach Benji Marshall says Papali’i will continue to give his all for the remainder of the season.

“Isaiah is a quality person and a tremendous footballer,” he said.

“He is a man of high integrity and strong principles, and I know he will continue to live by our standards until he leaves at the end of this season.”

The signing is a huge coup for Penrith after they missed out on Titans forward David Fifita earlier this month.

Troy Dodds

Troy Dodds is the Weekender's Managing Editor and Breaking News Reporter. He has more than 20 years experience as a journalist, working with some of Australia's leading media organisations. In 2023, he was named Editor of the Year at the Mumbrella Publish Awards.

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