NRL fans will know him well after several stints over a number of years at some clubs and after a brief stint with the London Broncos, Atelea Vea has signed a 2-year deal with English Super League powerhouse St Helens.
The 27-year old also has an option for the 2017 season and with several offers on the table, Vea felt like the chance to play for St Helens and at Langtree Park was a good one.
â€œI had offers from many different clubs but once I spoke to Mike Rush and Nathan Brown and had the chance to view Langtree Park and the training facilities, I felt it was the right fit for me,” said Vea.
â€œSaints have a nice culture and environment and that attracted me to sign.
â€œI played against Saints not too long ago and liked the feeling of the place even though we lost. The crowd were very vocal and it felt like somewhere I would like to be.
â€œIâ€™m looking forward to playing in front of those fans and getting them on my side.â€
Vea, who goes about his business on the footy field with aplomb, just wants to play his natural game once he joins the club.
â€œI want to come there, play my own game and hopefully the fans will embrace me,” said Vea.
With interest galore in him, Saints head coach Nathan Brown is pleased that his side were the ones to snare the signature of Vea.
â€œAtelea had a lot of interest throughout Super League and we are pleased he decided to join the Saints,” said Brown.
â€œHe is a similar player to Willie Manu in the fact he is quite robust, has good feet and speed and can use the ball well.
â€œHe has the ability to play before and in the line and will be a great addition to our squad.â€
Although disappointed to see him depart at season’s end, London Broncos coach Joey Grima was not about to stand in Vea’s way when a move like this came along.
â€œI’ve been liaising with Mike Rush and Nathan Brown and while we’re disappointed to be losing a player of Tils’ ability and professionalism, I would never stop anyone wanting to play Super League, given where we are at the moment,” said Grima.
â€œTils has been an ultimate professional to me and a personal friend. He accepted my invitation by coming over to play for the London Broncos and I wish him and his partner all the best for St Helens. I know the type of person St Helens are going to get and they couldn’t have picked anyone better than him.â€