Tamou signs two-year Tigers NRL deal

Penrith prop James Tamou will leave the Panthers for Wests Tigers at the end of this season.
Penrith prop James Tamou will leave the Panthers for Wests Tigers at the end of this season.

Michael Maguire has landed his biggest signing as Wests Tigers coach, luring James Tamou on a two-year deal from Penrith.

The former NSW and Kangaroos prop will link with the Tigers from next season, as the first of the NRL club's two big recruitment targets.

They also still firmly have their eyes set on bringing Josh Addo-Carr back to the club as fullback, dependent on securing his release from Melbourne.

But Tamou's signature is a big one.

He brings with him premiership-winning experience, and is the exact kind of man the Tigers need to lift a forward pack that is littered with potential.

"He's obviously an impressive leader and you can see a lot of good things he is doing at the moment," Maguire said.

"He's just a leader of men, he's been there at the highest of levels for a long period of time. He holds high standards.

"I have no doubt he will play a key role in the development of our forward pack moving forward."

Now aged 31, Tamou is enjoying one of the best seasons of his career averaging more than 130 metres per game as part of a Panthers pack dominating the NRL.

Ideally, Penrith have made no secret of the fact they would have liked to have kept Tamou but are facing a potential salary cap squeeze.

The front-rower revealed this week he'd been in agreement with coach Ivan Cleary that the club's cap space should be dedicated to the emerging young guns at his own expense.

"Jimmy is the epitome of team first, he's completely authentic. That's what he's like," Cleary said.

"He is certainly a very well respected person. Just complete humility, he drives our standards and is a great man for our young team to look up to.

"It's just an unfortunate bi-product of the salary cap. It's just the way it works."

Meanwhile, the Tigers are facing something of a clean out at the end of the season.

Veterans Benji Marshall, Chris Lawrence and Elijah Taylor are already confirmed to be leaving or retiring.

Oliver Clark, Matt Eisenhuth, Robert Jennings, Sam McIntyre and Alex Seyfarth all remain off-contract and are unsigned.

Young Panthers flyer Charlie Staines had also been linked to the club but could be out of their price range if they end up scoring Addo-Carr.

Australian Associated Press