Jamal Idris will return to the NRL with Wests Tigers next year after an 18-month absence and the former Kangaroos’ representative says this time he is doing it for himself.
The Tigers announced on Thursday Idris would join them for the 2017 season.
Idris, 26, left the Penrith in 2015 due to personal reasons, spending time travelling the world over the past 18 months.
He said his passion for rugby league had returned.
“I’ve learned a lot over the last year, and the biggest thing was that I was playing rugby league for others. This time, I’m playing rugby league for myself,” Idris said.
“There’s no better way to get back into it than to get stuck into training, and I’m improving a lot every week. I’m just hoping to do it now, week in and week out.”
Coach Jason Taylor said Idris would add depth next year to the Tigers’ outside backs.
“We’re really looking forward to having Jamal join us ahead of the 2017 season,” said Taylor.
“He brings a lot of size and strength to our outside backs which is something that we identified that needed to be improved on for the coming year.
“He’s played the game at the highest level and comes to Wests Tigers with a lot to prove.
“Jamal’s been working hard over the last couple of weeks to ensure that he’s ready for the start of pre-season and he’s incredibly motivated to get back into the game and we’re really happy that he’s decided to do it with us.”
Idris has played 131 NRL games since 2008 with Canterbury, Gold Coast and Penrith.
He represented NSW once in 2010 and Australia on one occasion in 2011.