McIlorum reveals why he snubbed NRL move

Micky McIlorum
Micky McIlorum

Micky McIlorum has revealed the reason why he opted for Catalans over Canberra... his two dogs!

The Wigan hooker was last week released from Wigan to take up a two-year deal with the French outfit.

He had previously been in talks with the Raiders, who were impressed with his performances for Ireland in the World Cup, and he admits he was tempted to try his hand in the NRL.

But two Parson Russell Terriers named Daisy and Marley swayed him to stay in Super League!

“Pretty much, yeah,” he smiled. “Nobody believes me but it is actually true.

“(Australia) was a bit far to go to take them.

“At Catalans it’s not too far to get back home and it’s easy to get the dogs over.

“They’re like my kids. It was a bit of a no brainer really.”

McIlorum spoke to the media yesterday - his 30th birthday - and admitted he had previously thought of finishing his career with a stint in France.

And while the move happened sooner than he expected, he is excited about the next chapter of a professional career that has been spent entirely at Wigan.

He also qualified his previous remark that chairman Ian Lenagan had nudged him out of the club.

“It was a bit ‘I’m free to go’,” he said. “With the offer Catalans gave me it was a no-brainer and that was it.

“It’s a challenge that I’m looking forward to - I’ve always fancied coming here.”

McIlorum, who celebrated his testimonial with Wigan last season, says he drove to Shaun Wane’s home to thank his long-term mentor, and wife Lorraine, for their support and guidance over the years.

“I went up to his house, and his wife was there, and I wanted... thank them both for everything they’ve done for me,” he added. “Since I was a kid at 16 they’ve both taken care of me and looked after me and I’ll be indebted to them for that.”

Meanwhile, the coach who claimed he had agreed a deal to sign Frank-Paul Nuuausala has backed down in his pursuit.

Rosellas coach Matt Lantry met with Nuuausala in Newcastle just after Christmas and believed the former Sydney Roosters and

Canberra forward was on board for this season after “agreeing to terms.”

Lantry told the Newcastle Herald that Nuuausala had returned to England to “finalise a few things at Wigan” - a report which caught both the Warriors, and Nuuausala’s own agent, by surprise.

The coach is still trying to get to the bottom of it all but said the club had acted in good faith throughout the talks, and was open to the ex-New Zealand international moving to the part-time outfit later in his career.

“The whole thing has probably become a little bit confusing from our point of view but at the end of the day, we appreciate and respect the fact that he is contracted to Wigan,” he told the Newcastle Herald.

“If nothing changes in that regard than of course, we won’t be pursuing it. We would certainly look at revisiting it at the end of his contract if Frank wants to continue his career.”

Nuuausala’s family has relocated to Newcastle and Wests had also lined up a job for the 30-year-old as part of a potential deal.

His agent Steve Gillis told the newspaper Nuuausala has two years remaining on his Wigan deal.

“I’m not sure how this stuff with Wests in Newcastle has come up but I’d say someone has their wires crossed,” he added.