The 25-year-old winger lit up the competition this year, scoring nine tries in five games and catching the eye of Australian recruiters. The Rebels were interested but tight for space and Lisala’s rapport with Penney is understood to be close to getting the deal over the line.
Lisala, who went to Tonga College before being recruited by Hanazono University in Kyoto, will round out the NSW recruitment drive after Wallabies utility Jack Maddocks signed on for this season.
The 2014 champions’ hope their inclusions will bring some much needed attacking punch after two lean years following the departures of Taqele Naiyaravoro and Israel Folau.
On the coaching front, Bailey, 39, will link up with NSW for one season, picking up where the highly-regarded Tandy left off before joining Scotland as an assistant coach just after Christmas.
Bailey played more than 100 games for Cronulla and Wigan, winning a Super League title with the Warriors in 2010.
An Achilles injury ended his professional career but a move to New York City to link up with the New York Knights opened the door to rugby. He started playing with the New York Athletic Club, then coached them to the US club championship, before being recruited to the national team as defence coach.
Raised in Inverell in northern NSW, Bailey coached Hong Kong Football Club for three seasons before returning to Sydney to coach NSW rugby league’s under-16s.
When the Waratahs were caught off guard with Tandy’s departure, former Waratahs and Wallabies coach Cheika threw Bailey’s name into the mix.
The pair crossed paths in 2015 when the Wallabies set up camp in the US before the World Cup, playing a warm-up Test against the Eagles at Chicago’s Soldier Field.
When Tandy announced his departure, Cheika mentioned Bailey’s name to NSW rugby general manager Tim Rapp and the pair worked out a deal. The four-Test Kangaroo is likely to work…