Some fans may have thought that he would never leave the Newcastle Knights but rugby league is a business nowadays, with Fijian flyer Akuila Uate to depart the club and join the Manly Sea Eagles.
With Manly’s need for experience in their back-line with the retirement and departure of some veteran players, the addition of Uate gives them additional go-forward from the back and a potent wing pairing in he and Jorge Taufua.
“The chance for Manly to pick up a quality winger who is just 28 of the calibre of Akuila Uate is exciting for the club,” said Manly head coach, Trent Barrett.
“Sometimes players need a change of clubs and Akuila at his best is one of the most exciting players in the game.
“He is eager to make his mark at Manly and wants to put a strong summer training program behind him in preparation for the 2017 season.”
The move has come about after Uate and the Knights agreed to an early release from his contract via mutual consent.
Uate’s tenure at the Knights has been a long one, with the Fijian joining the club as a 15-year old and playing in 161 NRL games, becoming the club’s highest try-scorer in the process.
Despite the departure, the Knights club were full of praise for Uate and the things he achieved at the club.
“Aku has been a wonderful player over many years and holds a proud record at our Club,” CEO Matt Gidley said.
“He is a tremendous character of the game and had a special affiliation with the fans.
“We thank Aku for his contribution and wish him and his family all the very best for the future.”
Newcastle will always hold a special place in Uate’s heart and career, as the veteran thanked the fans and wished the club well.
“I just want to say a massive thank you to everyone at the Club that has helped me over the years,” Uate said.
“I know this is the best decision for my family and we look forward to new opportunities.
“Thank you to all the fans, I have loved playing for you and I will miss you all.”