Former NRL forward Justin Horo believes Jarome Luai could be the perfect recruit to spearhead a Tigers resurgence under rookie coach Benji Marshall.
On Saturday, reports emerged Luai had agreed terms with the Tigers on a five-year, $6 million deal from 2025 and beyond.
However, Luai then responded on social media, explaining he was yet to put “pen to paper” on any contract despite reports circling he’d informed his Panthers teammates he was leaving.
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Then on Monday it emerged the five-eighth had skipped training as tensions continued to simmer between Luai and the Panthers.
It remains to be seen whether he will return to training on Tuesday and Wednesday, with the SMH reporting he “needed time away from the club”.
Should Luai sign a deal with the back-to-back wooden spooners, Horo believes he has what it takes to turn around the struggling club.
The former Sea Eagles and Eels man believes the maligned star is misunderstood and within the Panthers he is a much-loved figure, even likening him to Aussies Test opening batsmen David Warner.
“In my opinion, he never had an ego into, ‘I need to touch the ball more, I’m a starting six in the competition I need this type of money, I’m Nath’s best mate’,” Horo said on SEN.
“He always understood he was a team-first player, they call him the chief energy officer at Penrith.
“He’s a bit like David Warner in the way that he’s much maligned from an outsider’s perspective but I know (staff members) and people higher at Penrith that absolutely love Jarome.”
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Horo went on to explain that Luai “ticks all the boxes” likened the importance of his signing to that of the Titans who handed Tino Fa’asuamaleaui a mammoth 10-year contract.
“He’s a team-first player, he’s super humble, he’s a family man,” Horo said.
“If you’re going to put an investment into a player in that position and on that sort of money, then I think you really do have to tick all those boxes.
“I come to the Tino (Fa’asuamaleaui) situation when he re-signed at the Titans, Tino ticks so many boxes away from being elite at his position.”
Source website: www.foxsports.com.au