Hull Kingston Rovers have brought in front row reinforcements for the 2015 campaign and beyond after signing experienced Australian prop Dane Tilse from Canberra Raiders.
Standing at 6ft 7in and weighing in at over 17 stone, Tilse has a reputation as being one of the biggest forwards in the NRL and has now penned a two-and-a-half year contract at the KC Lightstream Stadium, subject to receiving the necessary paperwork.
Set to add plenty of power and experience to the pack having racked up 200 career appearances Down Under, Tilse will be a like-for-like replacement for the now retired Mick Weyman in the front row and he told www.hullkr.co.uk his former Canberra teammate was one of the reasons why he joined the club.
“It’s a new challenge for me to come over there and it’s one I’m really looking forward to. Everybody I’ve spoken to has had good things to say about Rovers and it sounds like a club on the way up,” he said.
“I’ve had a brief chat to Josh Hodgson and he spoke very highly of the club, as did Mick Weyman’s dad. I played with Mick at Canberra and his old man said how much he’d enjoyed it over there.
“It’s a different style of game in Super League, it’s not so much about the wrestle and defence like the NRL, so I’m looking forward to a fresh start.
“I’ve been at Canberra for 10 years now and it’s time for me to be taken out of my comfort zone, but I’m 30-years-old, I’m an experienced player and I’m more than confident I can handle the change.
“I was already thinking of coming over to Super League next season, but this was too good an opportunity to turn down. Canberra have been really good with me, so hopefully I can play a couple more games here over the next few weeks and then get across to Hull KR.”
A former Junior Kangaroo and New South Wales under-19s representative, Tilse has been one of Canberra’s most consistent performers in recent years having featured in every match for the Green Machine in 2013 and 2014 and was the Raiders’ top offloader last season.
Hull KR head coach Chris Chester said: “It’s no secret that we’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.
“Our forwards have coped very well in the circumstances but we’ve been scouring the market for props and we’re delighted to be bringing in someone of Dane’s calibre.
“He’s got a very good pedigree over in the NRL and he’s coming here in what should be the prime of his career for a front rower.
“We’re excited to see him take to the field for us and he’ll be a big part of the squad moving forwards. We’ve got to go through the necessary process regarding his visa, but we’re hopeful of having him on board in the next three to four weeks.”
Hull Kingston Rovers CEO Mike Smith added: “I’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.
“This 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 they’ve been fantastic to deal with throughout.
“They have kindly allowed Dane to leave part way through the season to take up this opportunity with us and I’d like to thank them for their understanding and support.”