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Tim Lafai extends his stay at Salford after starring for Samoa at the Rugby League World Cup

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Tim Lafai has signed a new three-year deal at Salford, following an impressive debut season in the Super League and a fairy tale return to the Test arena for Samoa at the Rugby League World Cup.

The centre was a late addition to cover for injuries in Matt Parish’s squad but made the most of his opportunity, while also excelling in the UK prior to the tournament commencing.

The 31-year-old scored six tries and provided 14 assists for the Red Devils during his debut campaign and followed up that fine form – which saw him named in the Super League’s Dream Team – with six tries in five matches for his country who he represented for the first time in three years.

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“It’s great news that Tim has chosen to extend his stay with us,” Salford’s coach Paul Rowley said.

“He is a tremendous player and more importantly a great friend and teammate to everybody. He’s been a joy to coach and a very positive influence on our environment.”

Lafai’s eye-catching displays at the World Cup sparked rumours of a return to Australia in the NRL, with the former St George and Canterbury man admitting he was interested if a chance presented itself. 

“If there are any offers, I’d love to take them,” he said. “That’s where mine and my wife’s families are.”

However, Samoa’s most-capped player in history has decided to sign a new deal with the club which plucked him from obscurity a year prior.

“I couldn’t land a contract. There was just nothing around, so I went to work like everyone else,” Lafai told the Sydney Morning Herald about his struggles since departing from the NRL in 2020.

“I was getting up at 4am and heading off to work to put food on the table for the family.

“It was good pay but to get there it’s 12-hour shifts, six-day weeks and I was missing out on a lot of things with the kids. You realise how good we have things in footy and you appreciate it.”

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After working as a bricklayer, Lafai jumped at the opportunity to join Salford and repaid them tenfold as he established himself as one of the best centres in the league, leading the competition with 49 offloads and forming a dangerous partnership with Joe Burgess on the left edge.

“Tim has been a fantastic addition to the group since we brought him to our club,” Director of Rugby and Operations, Ian Blease, said.

“After some negotiations, it’s incredible news that we have agreed to extend his stay with us for three years.

“Tim was outstanding for us in our last Super League campaign. From playing a vital role in our run to the semi-finals, he now has his chance to become a significant player in our history.

“Alongside representing his country at the World Cup, his journey across 2022 is a true reflection of his determination and immense quality as a player.”


Credit: sportingnews.com

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