NEW ROLE: James Elias playing for Wests against Macquarie in last year’s Newcastle Rugby League grand final at McDonald Jones Stadium. Picture: Jonathan CarrollLess than 12 months after representing Lebanon at the World Cup, James Elias will finish up his time at Newcastle Rugby League club Western Suburbs to pursue a career in the police force.
The 24-year-old Port Stephens native won’t return for a third season at the Rosellas in 2019, changing focus from football to professional life which will see him join the state’s academy in Goulburn.
“We lose a quality person [in Elias], but I’m happy for him,” Wests coach Matt Lantry said.
“He’d already put off an intake in April for six months, so he felt like this was the right time.”
Injury-plagued Elias and Lantry first teamed up in NSW Cup at the Newcastle Knights in 2014 but the utility failed to complete a full season, including a premiership three years ago.
At club level, Elias and Lantry have been together at Wests in2017 and 2018.The Rosellas claimed the minor premiership last year but lost the grand final while this season they missed the semis for the first time since 1979.
“He’s had such a tough run with injuries,” Lantry said.
“Most recently he’dbeen out with a grade three MCL tear and I don’t know if he would have been right to come back this year even if we made the finals.”
Elias scored one try in three appearances for Lebanon at the World Cup in before Christmas.
Elsewhere in the Rosellas squad and Lantry said experienced campaigners Mark Taufua and Brad Tighe have indicated they would be going around againnext year.
WEDNESDAY:Luke Walsh re-signs with Wests for 2019
Meanwhile, the current Newcastle RL finals campaign continues this weekend with Lakes hosting Souths on Sunday and Central visiting Kurri on Saturday.