Tigers NRL star's bright side to virus

Darren Walton
Joey Leilua made his Wests Tigers debut in their NRl round one win over St George Illawarra

Wests Tigers family man Joey Leilua is one rare athlete that has found a bright side to the coronavirus pandemic.

"For the NRL to advise us to (train and play) and go straight back home, it's fine with me; I get to spend more time with my kids and enjoying it," Leilua said on Wednesday.

The classy centre also respects the league's decision to consider housing every NRL player in north Queensland if that means keeping the competition going.

"If the NRL want us to do that, we have no choice. I would. We have no choice," Leilua said.

"I don't think my missus would be happy, but she understands what it takes and it just happens, it's footy.

"If the NRL wants us to play with no crowd this weekend, that's what we'll do.

"It's (for) two points and come September that's what we're going to need - two points."

If the NRL does decide to quarantine its players, at least Leilua won't be totally isolated from his family after his younger brother Luciano joined him at the Tigers this season from St George Illawarra.

Luciano had a blinder on debut last Sunday for the Tigers, bagging a try in the 24-14 win over his former Dragons teammates, the effort drawing rich praise from his big brother - who joined the Tigers after playing in last year's grand final for Canberra.

"The sky's the limit for him if he really wants it," the older Leilua said.

"He has to do all the little hard-work things that no one wants to do to become better.

"And if he keeps doing that, I'm sure he'll make some moolah.

"He was always better than me growing up. He was more of a footy freak - he loved watching footy, he loved doing a lot of things and I was opposite.

"I loved just going outside doing my own thing. Never rugby league until I got good at it."

Leilua said he was sad watching from afar as Luciano failed to reach his potential before copping a pep talk from their father last year.

"It kind of got me mad because I think he was in a bad place down in the Dragons when he was younger coming through the grades," he said.

"Finally my old man got into him and said 'if you really want this and if you don't want it, then don't play'.

"That kind of got through his head last year and he started playing good games back-to-back and it just worked out for him."