Written by Oliver Kellner-Dunk
Former leader of the Australia United Party Clive Palmer Has been heavily involved with Gold Coast-based Rugby League team the Southport Tigers since joining the club as a sponsor through his influence in bringing players to the club.
Duel International Israel Folau signed with the Tigers for the season earlier this year, with Palmer vital in getting the deal done.
After returning to Rugby League in 2020 with the Catalans Dragons, Folau found himself without a home in the game before Palmer brought him into the fold at Southport.
“I’m extremely happy for the club,” Palmer tweeted back in July.
“I applaud the QRL in making the right decision in registering Israel so he can return to the game he loves.
“Israel remains one of the best players in the world, and I am sure the large crowd that turns out to support the Tigers this weekend will be treated to some exciting rugby league.”
The club has released the following statement on John Asiata.
— Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs (@NRL_Bulldogs) December 7, 2021
Palmer seems set to sign yet another controversial former NRL player to the Tigers, with John Asiata’s manager Chris Orr confirming to Nine’s Wide World of Sports that they were in talks with Southport’s sponsor.
“Clive is keen on John and it is an option we are exploring,” said Orr.
“He wants John on board and he is a class player – he would do great in that competition.”
Asiata had signed with the Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs for season 2022 but was recently released by the club for his refusal to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
The 28-year-old has over 130 games of NRL experience under his belt and has represented both Samoa and Tonga in the International game.
Super League seems the likely destination for Asiata; however, his vaccination stance may prohibit him from entering the United Kingdom, meaning if the Penrith native wants a future in Rugby League a move to Palmer’s Tigers may be his only option.
Southport plays in the Gold Coast Rugby League competition, winning 15 premierships with their most recent title coming in 2014.
Expect further developments to this story if Asiata is unable to sign with a Super League club.