Hull FC make Talanoa sixth signing for 2014

Fetuli Talanoa
Fetuli Talanoa

Hull FC have continued to strengthen their squad for 2014 after confirming the signing of former South Sydney Rabbitohs back Fetuli Talanoa, the club’s sixth new addition for Super League XIX.
The 6ft, near 16-stone flyer has penned a one-year contract at the Black and Whites with an option for 2015 and will link up with coach Lee Radford’s squad subject to being granted a work permit.
Equally at home on the wing, at full back or in the centres, Talanoa ran in 40 tries during 95 appearances for the Rabbitohs between 2006 and 2012 and was tipped for a bright future in the game before suffering a life-threatening bout of pneumonia.
Choosing to spend time recovering with family rather than see out his contract with the NRL club, the 25-year-old is now back to full fitness and eager to make the most of his return to Rugby League.
He told, “Hull FC have given me an opportunity to play for their club and I’m really excited for it. I can’t wait to get over there and represent the Black and Whites.
“For me it’s about getting back into playing Rugby League. League is where my heart is and that’s what I enjoy doing but first of all, I’ve got to make the team and that’s a battle I’m really looking forward to.
“My first priority is to get a starting spot in the side and then to give the club 100 per cent every time I put the jersey on.”
He continued, “I want to take this opportunity with both hands and reward Lee Radford for giving me and my family the chance to come over.
“My family have supported me 100 per cent through everything over the past couple of years, but they love me playing rugby league and they know that is what I want to do. They really enjoy it, they’d do anything they could to support me doing that and they’re really looking forward to coming over here by my side.”
Talanoa follows in the footsteps of rugby union international Tom Biggs, Tonga’s World Cup forward Mickey Paea, ex-New Zealand prop Feka Paleaasina and Wigan forward Chris Tuson in moving to the KC Stadium in 2014.
A former Tongan international himself, Talanoa was also selected in the New Zealand training squad ahead of the 2008 Rugby League World Cup and offers further competition for places in an exciting young back division at the club.
Hull FC head coach Lee Radford added, “This is a great opportunity for him and one that could also prove to be an excellent signing for us.
“Fetuli was quite a player in the early part of his career, very strong, quick and powerful and someone that can play numerous positions, so it was surprising, although understandable, when he chose to take a period away from the game.
“I know a number of other clubs have been keeping tabs on him following conversations with agents and coaches over the last few months, particularly Brisbane who have looked at him a couple of times, so to come out on top despite competition like that it is very pleasing.”
He added, “I think Fetuli sees this as a bit of a life change. He could have stayed in Australia but he has decided to make the most of the opportunity, experience life on the other side of the world with his family and embrace a new chapter in his career.
“That’s why this is very exciting for us. He is very hungry and eager to impress and hopefully we will see reap the rewards of that.”
A former wing partner to star Australian centre Greg Inglis, the Tongan try-scorer received glowing references ahead of his move to Hull from well-known former team mates, including Warrington-bound Roy Asotasi and England international Sam Burgess.