4 – Willie Tonga

Player Sponsor:  ascot
Position: Center
Born: 8th July 1983
Debut: 2016
Heritage Number:
Contracted to: Nov. 2017
Signed on a two-year contract following his release from Catalans Dragons, Willie continues the heritage of famous Australian players joining Leigh, sparked by the Club’s first Australian signing Mick Bolewski over one hundred years ago.

Born in Canberra, of Tongan descent on his father’s side, Villiami Sione (Willie) Tonga’s parents were Aboriginal Inland Missionaries who moved around the country with their work. He made his NRL debut with Parramatta Eels in 2002 after being scouted by former Australian Test greats Arthur Beetson and Noel Cleal at a country rugby festival before joining Canterbury Bulldogs in 2004.

In his first year with his new club he played a prominent role in their 16-13 Grand Final victory over Sydney Roosters in an Eels side that also included current Centurions team-mate Reni Maitua.

Willie also made his Queensland and Australian Test debut in his breakthrough year of 2004, going on to make eight appearances (3 tries) for the Maroons and 12 appearances (8 tries) for the Kangaroos, including scoring two tries in Australia’s 44-4 Tri-Nations Final victory over Great Britain at Elland Road in 2004.

After joining North Queensland in 2009, Willie re-signed for Parramatta in 2012 before making the move to play with Catalans Dragons on a two-year contract for 2015. He has scored 86 tries in 200 club appearances and 11 tries in 22 representative appearances which also include appearances for the Prime Minister’s XIII and the Indigenous All Stars.

His younger brother Esi is also an established NRL player.