In a boost for the Hull Kingston Rovers, the club have signed veteran Canberra Raiders forward Dane Tilse, in a move that gives them additional forward depth.
Tilse, who will only depart after the completion of round seven due to injuries in the Raiders forward pack, will play in his 200th game for the club next week. His 199th game is this week against the Manly Sea Eagles in Albury.
With an opportunity presenting itself at Hull KR after the retirement of former NRL prop Michael Weyman, Tilse asked for a release to fulfil a desire to play in England at some point in his career.
â€œPlaying in England was always something I wanted to do towards the end of my career and the opportunity came early when Hull approached me to join their team after Mick Weyman retired a few weeks ago due to injury,â€ Tilse said.
â€œItâ€™s a new challenge for me to go over there and itâ€™s one Iâ€™m really looking forward to.
â€œEverybody Iâ€™ve spoken to has had good things to say about Rovers and it sounds like a club on the way up,â€
There are high opinions of the Hull KR club and after talking to former Super League players and former team-mates, he knew it was good option for him.
â€œIâ€™ve had a brief chat to Josh Hodgson and he spoke very highly of the club, as did Mick Weymanâ€™s dad. I played with Mick at Canberra and his old man said how much heâ€™d enjoyed it over there,” said Tilse.
Tilse was full of praise for the Raiders club that have given him so much and he was quick to thank the fans for their continued support.
â€œThe Raiders and Canberra has been my home for almost ten years and I want to take the opportunity to thank them for everything theyâ€™ve done for me during my time at the club,â€ Tilse said.
â€œTheyâ€™ve also allowed me to leave my current contract and give me the chance to continue my career in England. Theyâ€™ve been great through this whole process and I thank them for it.
â€œIâ€™d love to have the opportunity to play my 200th match for the club before I leave and thank all of the loyal Raiders fans for all of their support over the years as well. The Raiders are a great club with great supporters and I know theyâ€™ve got a bright future ahead under Ricky Stuart.â€
Knowing how crucial his experience was, Tilse was praised by club CEO Don Furner, who applauded the efforts and commitment of Tilse during his time at the club.
â€œDane has been one of our most consistent players over a number of years and heâ€™ll be remembered as a tough competitor who always gave his best for the club,â€ Furner said.
â€œWe are happy Dane has the opportunity to have a fitting farewell from the club and we wish him all the best for his future at Hull KR.
â€œDane, like his father Mick (who played for the Raiders) will always be part of the family and always welcome back here.â€
With several forwards departing, Hull KR knew they had to sign someone with experience and they believe they have found their man in Tilse.
â€œItâ€™s no secret that weâ€™ve been short on numbers in the front row after the departures of Mick and Ryan Bailey and we wanted to strengthen in that area,” said Hull KR coach, Chris Chester.
â€œOur forwards have coped very well in the circumstances but weâ€™ve been scouring the market for props and weâ€™re delighted to be bringing in someone of Daneâ€™s calibre.
â€œHeâ€™s got a very good pedigree over in the NRL and heâ€™s coming here in what should be the prime of his career for a front rower.
â€œWeâ€™re excited to see him take to the field for us and heâ€™ll be a big part of the squad moving forwards. Weâ€™ve got to go through the necessary process regarding his visa, but weâ€™re hopeful of having him on board in the next three to four weeks.â€
Hull KR’s CEO Mike Smith praised the Raiders for the way they handled the situation and looks forward to Tilse playing in the club colours.
â€œIâ€™d like to thank both Don Furner and Ricky Stuart at Canberra for the way they have worked with us in recent weeks to get this deal over the line,” said Smith.
â€œThis is the third time we have worked closely with the Raiders in recent months following the departure of Josh Hodgson and the arrival of our captain Terry Campese, and theyâ€™ve been fantastic to deal with throughout.
â€œThey have kindly allowed Dane to leave part way through the season to take up this opportunity with us and Iâ€™d like to thank them for their understanding and support.â€