LEILANI Latu arrived in England last Sunday after signing a two-year deal with Warrington Wolves.

He watched from the stands as The Wire lost 16-10 to Wigan in Super League Round One on Thursday.

Today he makes his first appearance in Wire colours when the reserves play their first game of the season at home to Newcastle Thunder at Victoria Park Stadium, kick-off noon. Entry is free for 2020 members, £3 for adults, £1 for juniors/concessions.

His signing with The Wire reunites him with former teammates Sitaleki Akauola and Ben Murdoch-Masila.

He is a prop forward who was granted an early release from his Gold Coast Titans NRL contract to pursue this opportunity with The Wire

Latu has trained throughout pre-season with the Titans under their new head coach Justin Holbrook, who led St Helens to Super League Grand Final and League Leaders’ Shield success last year and is a long-time friend and former junior teammate of Wire chief Steve Price.

Leilani was a teammate of former Wire scrum-half Tyrone Roberts at Gold Coast.

Prior to Gold Coast, he spent three seasons in the NRL with Penrith Panthers where his last campaign in 2017 ended early with a broken jaw.

It took him a year to break into the first-team, having been a part of the Panthers’ Premiership-winning New South Wales Cup side in 2014.

His first association with an NRL club came with Canterbury Bulldogs. He played in their New South Wales Cup team in 2013 and National Youth Competition team in 2012. The year before he captained Bulldogs to the Grand Final of the SG Ball Cup, a junior competition played in New South Wales between teams made up of players aged under 18.

Injuries, which sent his life spiralling, held him back in his late teens but he turned his fortunes around with strong support from his family, including elder brother Michael who was once in the system at Wests Tigers.

He has also gained representative honours.

Latu scored twice, including the winning try, in his only appearance for Tonga against Fiji in 2017.

Although born in Sydney, his father is a full-blooded Tongan.

He also had the option to represent another country, as his mother is half-Italian and half-Torres Strait Islander.

Latu has also featured for the Indigenous All Stars three times between 2016-18, and the New South Wales City Origin side once in 2016.

He made 58 NRL appearances in total over his five seasons since debut at Penrith in 2015.

49 of those came with Penrith, 9 with Gold Coast over the past two seasons.

He spent much of last year with Gold Coast’s feeder club Tweed Heads Seagulls in Queensland’s Intrust Super Cup, playing only three games with the Titans in the NRL.

Looking at his stats, he played between 34 and 46 minutes per game for Tweed last year across 17 matches, 15 of which were in the starting line-up as a prop.

He delivered 22 offloads in 28 games over two years, 58 tackle breaks, while he averaged 8 carries per game last season.

Latu has not played in a winning top-flight team since March 2018 when on his debut Gold Coast Titans beat Canberra Raiders 30-28 in NRL Round One.

A week later against New Zealand Warriors was his last start in an NRL game. Seven of his nine Gold Coast appearances came off the bench.

On a personal level, he turns 27 on Wednesday.

He is 6ft 3in tall and weighs 17½st.

He is married to Kenina and they have one son, Lennox. They will follow him to England at a later stage.

Kong is the nickname he is known by.

He considers himself very disciplined with his faith.

Latu told NRL.com in 2016: “God plays an important role in my life and he's helped keep my feet grounded.”