Dragons snare Tonga


9th July 2014

Catalan Dragons have pulled off a major coup with the signing of former Australia Test centre Willie Tonga from Parramatta Eels.

The 30-year-old Tonga, who has scored 79 tries in 179 NRL appearances, will join the French First Utility Super League club on a two-year deal from the start of the 2015 season.

"I'm really satisfied to be able to announce the addition of Willie to our squad for the next two seasons," said Catalan coach Laurent Frayssinous.

"He is a world-class player who has been outstanding this season and will add power, pace and skills to our backline.

"Willie has played at the very highest level in the NRL, in State of Origin and for his country and he will bring his experience to the squad."

Tonga began his career at Parramatta in 2002 and went on to play for Canterbury Bulldogs, with whom he won the 2004 Premiership, and North Queensland Cowboys before returning to the Eels in 2012.

He has scored eight tries in 12 appearances for the Kangaroos and represented Queensland eight times. He was named in the Maroons' 22-man squad last month for the second Origin Game.

"Willie Tonga is a marquee signing for us," said Dragons chief executive Christophe Jouffret. "When a player of Willie's calibre decides to join us, it's a strong sign to show everyone our ambition.

"Willies has all the qualities we are looking for both on and off the field and his experience will prove invaluable to the young players who are coming through at the club.

"It is a great opportunity for them to continue their learning under one of the best centres in the game.

"We started the discussions with Willie a long time ago and it has been a pleasure to find an agreement with his agent Isaac Moses, with whom we have excellent relations."