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Wests Tigers sign Isaiah Papali’i from Parramatta Eels


The Eels have lost another key forward, with Isaiah Papali’i confirming he’ll leave the club at the end of 2022.

The Parramatta forward enjoyed a breakout campaign in 2021, and was one of the signings of the season after heading across the Tasman from the New Zealand Warriors.

The move comes as the Eels are pressured to retain a swathe of off-contract stars, including Junior Paulo, Reed Mahoney, and Clint Gutherson.

They announced the relatively surprising retention of prop Reagan Campbell-Gillard a fortnight ago, just days after it was revealed that he wanted to join the Dolphins.

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Papali’i, 23, debuted for the Warriors in 2017 and racked up 63 games across four seasons.

His first year in blue and gold was fantastic as he scored seven tries and was awarded the Ken Thornett Medal as Parramatta’s player of the season.

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It comes just a week after the Eels lost another strong forward in Marata Niukore, who signed with the Warriors for 2023 – although they are trying to secure an early release for next year.

“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,” Parramatta said in a statement.

“Both Isaiah and the club are committed to another strong year in the blue and gold in 2022.

Papali’i is expected to join the Wests Tigers.

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