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Nuuausala departs Wigan and is linked with NRL club

Frank Paul Nuuausala won a Grand Final and World Club Challenge with Wigan
Frank Paul Nuuausala won a Grand Final and World Club Challenge with Wigan

Frank-Paul Nuuausala has played his last game for Wigan.

He has been released from the remaining two years on his contract.

As reported earlier today, the 31-year-old didn’t return to England from their mini-tour Down Under with the rest of the squad.

He has since been linked with a return to his former NRL club, Sydney Roosters.

Executive director Kris Radlinski said: “Frank and his family have struggled to adapt to life in the UK. His family are currently back in Australia having decided to stay there following the close-season break and his situation was becoming increasingly difficult by the day.

“We agreed that it would be best for both parties to allow him to be released from the remainder of his contract with Wigan in order for him to return home.

“Frank had a positive impact on the squad in 2016 when he provided a timely boost towards the end of the year that ultimately ended in Grand Final glory. We thank Frank for his service and wish him and his family well for the future.”

Nuuausala, 31, joined Wigan midway through the 2016 season and in only his 11th game for the club helped the Warriors win the Super League Grand Final. He was the only played to figure in every Wigan game last year, including the World Club Challenge, and figured in the round one victory at Salford this season.

But speculation over his future simmered during the off-season and six weeks ago, the coach of an Australian lower-league side claimed he was joining them, which was later put down to a misunderstanding.

Alarm bells went off when Nuuausala was dropped from the squad to face Souths on Saturday, despite being named in the provisional squad, with Shaun Wane offering a blunt explanation that he ‘wasn’t selected’.

Nuuausala, who joined Wigan midway through 2016 from Canberra on a three-and-a-half year deal, admits his firm never hit the heights which earned him New Zealand Test honours and the nickname, The Wrecking Ball.

He said: “I’ve enjoyed my time at Wigan. I don’t think I reached my full potential whilst being here but I leave with fond memories of winning the Grand Final and the World Club Challenge. Not many people can say they’ve played for Wigan and I’m proud to have done so.

“Wigan as a club have really accepted me and all of the coaching staff and players have been great with me during my time here.”

He was thought to be one of Wigan’s better-paid players and presumably, his departure will free up cash under the salary cap.
But it remains to be seen whether the Warriors try and strengthen the squad now – when options are limited – or keep the money available for down the track.

Rumours linking them with Castleford’s Zak Hardaker persist, but even if they were interested, it would seem unlikely there would be any move before he has had his doping hearing.

Hardaker was suspended ahead of last October’s Grand Final after testing positive for cocaine.

Even with Nuuausala now gone, Wigan are still well-stocked for props, with Romain Navarrete and Gabriel Hamlin not figuring in a competitive game this year. 
As for Nuuausala, the Roosters are thought to be prepared to offer him a modest, one-year deal to give him a chance to re-establish himself Down Under.

Trent Robinson’s outfit have spent big in the off-season to sign James Tedesco and Cooper Cronk, and last week handed Australia forward Boyd Cordner a lucrative new deal.