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English club Barrow sign Italian World Cup forward

Alec Susino

As they undergo somewhat of a player overhaul in an attempt to revamp their roster, English Championship side Barrow Raiders have kick-started signings with an Italian forward, signing Alec Susino.

Susino, who was a Cronulla Sharks junior, has most recently been playing for Mounties RLFC across numerous grades in the New South Wales Rugby League (NSWRL) competitions.

Barrow made it to the championship after a play-off win against Whitehaven in the League 1 championship.

Following their tense finish to the season, Barrow coach Paul Crarey is pleased to have secured the signature of Susino.

“We have actually signed a player that is in the World Cup,” said Crarey. “He has played all his junior football for Cronulla Sharks. He is an exciting young fellow with massive potential.

“He has played all his junior football for Cronulla Sharks. He is an exciting young fellow with massive potential.

“He is now playing for Mounties, which is a feeder team for Canberra Raiders.”

Crarey went on to praise Susino’s size, tackling prowess and motor as assets that will prove valuable for the club.

“He is a very exciting young player, very passionate, he is a big unit and can play,” continued Crarey.

“He can run hard and tackle hard, and he has a great passing game, which is something we need when we go up a level, and he can play big minutes as well.”

In the end, a personal connection with Susino’s agent aided the deal taking place despite interest from other Championship clubs and Crarey is just pleased to have the forward on board.

“He has had a couple of offers from other Championship clubs but his agent is a good friend of mine – he has played Super League and I have coached him – and that has probably got it over the line,” said Crarey.


Eels veteran forward signs deal for 2018

David Gower

Every team needs forward leaders with experience in their squad and the Parramatta Eels have re-signed veteran David Gower for the 2018 season.

At the Eels since the 2014 season, 2017 was an interrupted season for Gower with both injuries and stints at the Eels feeder team, the Wentworthville Magpies.

With a new season in tow and potential opportunities awaiting, the re-signing is one that pleases club CEO, Bernie Gurr.

“David is an extremely valuable member of our playing roster,” said Gurr.

David’s experience and knowledge continue to be a real asset for our Club.”

“We are pleased David has decided to remain an Eel in 2018.”

Versatile utility back makes the move to the Gold Coast

Brendan Elliot

With his departure from the Newcastle Knights confirmed, the Gold Coast Titans have acted swiftly to sign Brendan Elliot, a versatile utility back.

Still only 23, Elliot spent the last 18 months with the Knights where he played 23 and 17 before that with the Sydney Roosters.

Originally from the Gold Coast, Elliot moved away to seek new opportunities but with his family and partner all from and/or living in the area, it was the right time for him to move back.

“I can’t wait,” Elliot said.

“All my family and friends are there and as my partner is from the Gold Coast as well, we can’t wait to get back there.”

With some potential spots up for grabs in the Titans back-line, Elliot is hopeful of cementing a spot in their side for the 2018 season.

“That’s definitely part of the reason (to come to the Titans),: continued Elliot. It’s a really good opportunity and I’ll be looking to get some more minutes in the NRL.

“It’s a really good opportunity and I’ll be looking to get some more minutes in the NRL.

“It’s good to have that versatility (across positions) but I would love to be able to lock down one spot. I don’t really have a preference, I’d just like to string a number of games together in the one position if I can.”

The club is pleased to see one of their own return.

“Brendan has been away from home for a number of years and from my discussions with his manager, he’s really excited about what he could achieve here at the Titans,” said Titans Chief Operating Officer, Tony Mestrov.

“He’ll add some much-needed depth to our backline and the fact that he is more than capable across three positions gives us some options as well.”

Elliot will join the Titans in pre-season in November.

Young Souths forward makes the move to Wigan

Gabe Hamlin

Recommended to the club by former Wigan boss Michael Maguire and former player Pat Richards, young South Sydney Rabbitohs forward Gabe Hamlin will swap the cardinal and myrtle for the colours of Wigan, signing a 2-year deal.

The young forward will join Wigan in November for pre-season and at just 20 years old and 47 appearances in the U20’s Holden Cup to his name, the club is pleased to have a young, blooming forward joining them.

“My recent visit to Australia was primarily about our 2018 trip to Wollongong and Sydney however, along the way, I met with a few familiar faces including Michael Maguire and Pat Richards,” said Wigan’s Executive Director, Kris Radlinski.

“Having worked with us as a Club and more recently with Gabriel, both Michael and Pat mentioned that he was available and that he would be the perfect fit for Wigan. Michael’s words were ‘he is someone who is made for our environment’.

“A wise head on young shoulders, we believe that Gabriel has the potential to blossom here at Wigan.”

Wigan coach Shaun Wane spoke of the club’s desire to find, nurture and develop young talent.

“We are always on the lookout for talented players that have a good attitude and a real determination to improve,” said Wane.

“Developing players is a part of coaching that I really enjoy and at Wigan, we have a great record of bringing in players and taking them to the next level.”

When the recommendations came from both Maguire and Richards, it was an opportunity too hard to pass up for Wigan.

“When people like Michael Maguire and Pat Richards are both recommending a player to you, then you take that recommendation very seriously and we all believe that Gabriel is a talented forward who can really fulfil his potential here at Wigan,” continued Wane.

“We can’t wait to have him join us.”

Hamlin is excited at the challenge that awaits and has some ties to the country, with his mother born in England.

“I’m really excited about joining Wigan and I’m flattered that they think me worthy of this opportunity,” said Hamlin. I’m very proud of my English heritage, my Mum was actually born in Blackpool.

“I’m very proud of my English heritage, my Mum was actually born in Blackpool.

“Although I’ve never been to the UK before, I’ve heard great things about it. I have studied up on Wigan’s great history and I am thrilled to get the opportunity to represent the Club next season.

I have studied up on Wigan’s great history and I am thrilled to get the opportunity to represent the Club next season.”

Hamlin intends to make the most of the new challenge and wants to impress all involved at the club.

“I watch Super League regularly and I am prepared for the challenge that awaits,” continued the young forward. It’s very exciting and I intend on making the most of this chance.”

“It’s very exciting and I intend on making the most of this chance.”

He may return to Sydney sooner rather than later, with Wigan set to take on the Bunnies in an international doubleheader in February.




Eels hooker rewarded with new deal after solid 2017 finish

Cameron King

Forced to bide his time with the Parramatta Eels, Cameron King’s opportunity arose when Kaysa Pritchard suffered an injury and he took the most of the opportunity. 

Finishing the 2017 season as a solid performer for the Eels, the club has rewarded him with a new contract until the end of the 2018 season.

Initially joining the club in 2016, King previously had stints with both the St George Illawarra Dragons and the North Queensland Cowboys.

As the club look to develop further after their first finals series since 2009, King drew praise from club CEO Bernie Gurr after his perseverance to come back from injuries and perform well.

“Cameron has had a tough run with injuries throughout his career but is a great talent and played an important role in our teams first Finals series since 2009.

“We are very pleased to have secured Cameron’s signature for 2018 and look forward to his continued improvement next season.”

Knights bolster forward depth with signing of veteran

Chris Heighington

After success with the Cronulla Sharks that included a premiership in 2016, Chris Heighington has moved on from the shire to sign a 1-year deal with the Newcastle Knights. 

Boasting a host of young forwards still developing and fine-tuning their games, the 300 plus gamer in Heighington is the perfect foil for the young kids to learn and develop under given his experience.

An England international since 2011, Heighington has been selected in the English squad for this year’s Rugby League World Cup.

Having grown up on the Central Coast, the veteran said it made sense to join the Knights.

“I grew up on the Central Coast and always liked the Knights and I remember watching the 1997 and 2001 grand finals, so it just made sense,” said Heighington.

“There are some great young kids coming through the system and hopefully I can help out just as much off the field to see them grow as players.”

His experience and leadership will be invaluable to the Knights and they know how crucial he will be in their development of their younger players.

“Chris’ professionalism and his knowledge of the game will be a great asset to the Knights,” said the Knights General Manager of Football, Darren Mooney.

“He will be able to provide strong leadership to our young players and will be able to assist in their development both on and off the field.”

Manly sign young Souths back-rower

Jack Gosiewski

With just 6 NRL games to his name, Jack Gosiewski will want to build on that and he will have the chance to do so with Manly after joining the club for the 2018 season.

Previously a captain of the Souths 2016 NYC team, Gosiewski made his debut in 2016 and was mildly impressive.

With a change of clubs and a chance for more opportunity, Gosiewski will want to make the most of the chances with the club pleased to have signed a talented back-rower for depth.

“We are pleased to have secured Jack as part of our full-time squad for the 2018 season,’’ said Sea Eagles Chief Operating Officer, Neil Bare.

“We wish him every success in the development of his NRL playing career with the Sea Eagles.”

Scott Fulton, one of Manly’s regional scouts, praised the signing of Gosiewski and expects him to challenge for first-grade.

“Jack is an edge back-rower who weighs almost 100 kilos. He will provide extra depth for us in that position and has come to Manly looking for an opportunity,’’ Fulton said.

“I would be expecting him to play a fair bit of first grade next year given an opportunity in the pre-season.”

Eldest Mata’utia joins the Leigh Centurions

Peter Mata’utia

After stints with both the Newcastle Knights and the St George Illawarra Dragons, a new chapter beckons for experienced utility back Peter Mata’utia after he signed a three-year deal with the Leigh Centurions.

After failing to come to an agreement with the Knights over a contract, Mata’utia announced that he would instead be departing the club and looking for a new one.

In the end, the Leigh offer came knocking and the club could not be happier.

“This is a significant signing for the Club and demonstrates one of the benefits of having Keiron at the Club,” said club owner, Derek Beaumont. I know that some people were disappointed when we did business with Warrington on Bryson Goodwin and I hope this news shows our clear intentions.

“I know that some people were disappointed when we did business with Warrington on Bryson Goodwin and I hope this news shows our clear intentions.”

The club, fully aware of Mata’utia’s versatility and ability, look forward to seeing him don their jersey and performing well.

“Peter is a proven quality NRL player who has been ever-present this season and has plenty of energy in his game,” continued Beaumont.

“He has age on his side and will add a lot to the squad and be a pleasure to watch in a Leigh Centurions shirt.

“Although Peter joins us in the Championship, he is aware of our Club’s ambitions and his signing is indicative of his belief in that vision. I look forward to welcoming him to our Famileigh.”

Veteran returns to the Storm for a final swansong

Ryan Hoffman

A favourite son of many for years during his time there, the Melbourne Storm have re-signed veteran Ryan Hoffman for the 2018 season.

In what will be Hoffman’s swansong, the back-rower has been a revered figure by many and he has the opportunity to become just the fifth player to play in 250 games for the Storm.

A staple of their previous premiership winning sides, Hoffman was awarded life membership at the club in 2013 and the club is ecstatic to have him for his experience and leadership once again.

“The Melbourne Storm are very excited about the continued development of Joe Stimson, who we expect will make a strong claim for Tohu Harris’ spot in the second row,” Storm Football Director Frank Ponissi said.

“Ryan Hoffman is going to add some much-needed experience and leadership to the squad.”

With Patrick Kaufusi also signing until the end of 2019 to join brother Felise at the club, Ponissi believes the two will greatly benefit the Storm’s forwards rotation.

“Having lost three forwards from our Grand Final team in Jordan McLean, Tohu Harris and Slade Griffin, we believe Hoffman and Kaufusi are valuable inclusions that will help offset the departure of that trio,” continued Ponissi.

“Along with a host of current Storm players, both Patrick and Ryan will be pressing hard for a position in our starting 17.”


Raiders half returns to the club for third stint

Sam Williams

Rarely do you see a player return to the same club three times but Sam Williams has once again joined the Canberra Raiders in what will be his third stint with the club.

The deal will run for 2 seasons with Williams previously a part of the Raiders setup in 2011, 2013 and 2015/16.

Williams is ready to work hard and try to make the most of the opportunity presented to him at the Raiders once again.

“This has always been home for me, it’s great to be back with a lot of mates that I have made and we have great coaching staff as well,” Williams said. “There

“There hasn’t been a lot of changes since I left last time, it will be easy for me to slide back into the club, I know the culture and how the place works, it was exciting to get the call back to come here.”

“I’m just lucky to be back here and it’s going to be a great challenge, I can’t wait.”

A talented player in his own right, the club are pleased to have an experienced half like Williams returning to the fore as back-up.

“Sam has proven in the past he is an NRL standard halfback and we are looking forward to him rejoining the squad for the next two seasons,”  said Raiders NRL Recruitment and High-Performance Manager, Peter Mulholland.

“We know what a hard worker Sam is and we’re expecting him to rejoin the squad and provide us with competition in the halves which is a good thing for any club to have.”