Penrith Panthers prop Spencer Leniu opens his move to the Sydney Roosters

“The plan is to build up those minutes and eventually get to that starting position,” said Leniu. “I understand that this front row position in the game is very difficult, but I’m just biding my time and when the time is right, the time is right.

“That week we had off was one of the most stressful times of my career so far. It was really hard to tell the guys, but it took a lot of weight off my shoulders after I told them. They all understood, so everything was fine.

“It was pretty crazy, the last time I had to make my decision to sign with this club again I was quite stressed. I asked the guys [Crichton, Jarome Luai and Brian To’o] go to eat. Everyone was in the same boat.

“We thought, ‘We have to make a sacrifice and represent our family and community. We will try to win a Premier League. It’s funny, in the last two years we’ve won prime ministerships and I’ve sat down with them again for dinner and let them know [about going to the Roosters] and they fully supported me and my decision.

“I’m really grateful to these guys.”


The Bulldogs had also expressed an interest in Leniu but made no formal offer when the Roosters struck. He will join Newcastle winger Dominic Young as the Tricolors’ big recruits for 2024.

But there was no harder task for Leniu than telling coach Cleary he had signed elsewhere, especially after idolizing the coach as a teenage Warriors fan.

“I asked him to call me and he cleaned me up for a couple of days,” Leniu joked. “No, everything was fine.

“I was born in New Zealand and at the time he was the only coach I knew. He led the Warriors to a grand final and gave me my first chance. I’m really grateful for everything he’s done for me in my career so far.

“It was a really good conversation I had with him. He understood that it was a good time for me to make the switch. He was very supportive and we had some nice words to say to each other.

“It would be crazy to end my career here on a high note and win another prime ministerial office.”

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Sports news, scores and expert commentary. Sign up for our sports newsletter. Penrith Panthers prop Spencer Leniu opens his move to the Sydney Roosters

Ryan Sederquist

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