Hull FC have today announced the massive coup of signing New Zealand World Cup winner Sika Manu on a 3-year-deal starting next season.
The 28-year-old will leave Penrith Panthers to head to the KC Stadium having turned down firm offers from Leeds Rhinos and NRL sides South Sydney Rabbitohs, St. George/Illawarra Dragons and Cronulla Sharks.
Panthers boss Phil Gould said: “We at Panthers will forever be grateful to Sika for coming to our club when he did and for the tremendous impact he has had on our young developing players.
“We can assure his new club they have recruited a quality footballer and a quality person.
“We wish Sika and his family all the very best for the future.”
Manu made his debut with Melbourne Storm in 2007 and won the Telstra Premiership with them in 2012 before joining the Panthers in 2013.
He has won 14 caps with New Zealand and won the Rugby League World Cup with them in 2008.
Manu has been quoted as saying one of the big draws for him to sign for Lee Radford’s side was the opportunity to join-up with great friend Mahe Fonua who Hull signed from Melbourne Storm and fellow kiwis Frank Pritchard and Carlos Tuimavave and it’s understood that he is also excited at playing alongside his cousin Fetuli Talanoa.
Hull FC announced the signing of New Zealand test forward Frank ‘The Tank’ Pritchard on 19th June on a 2-year-deal with the club holding an option on a further year for the 31 year old back rower.
Coach Lee Radford said: “Frank is a quality signing. He is going to be a real hit in this competition and, as a former club captain at the Bulldogs, a Grand Final winner and a top New Zealand international for some years, his CV speaks for itself.
“The fact we had to fight so hard against three or four other clubs in Super League to get his signature and Canterbury’s reluctance to see him go speaks volumes and is a real sign of his quality and the stature of the man.
“Having spoken to him he is desperate to come over here, make an impression and be successful at this club, which is what we want.”
Speaking about his move from NRL Side Canterbury Bulldogs to the KC Stadium side Pritchard said, “The English Super League is continuing to grow as a competition and to be able to go over there and continue as a professional athlete is exciting.
“Hull were the best fit for me. Having spoken to the guys there I can see what they’re trying to build and what they want to achieve and it will be exciting to be part of that.”
Pritchard played 144 games for Penrith Panthers before switching to the Bulldogs at the end of 2010, his time with the Bulldogs has seen him play in the NRL Grand Final twice.
He has played 27 times for New Zealand and was part of their 2008 World Cup Winning squad although he didn’t play in that tournament, he has also played four times for Samoa including all-3 of their games in the 2014 four nations tournament in Australia and New Zealand.