HULL KR prop Will Maher has found a new club.
Maher, who has spent the last few seasons at Craven Park, has signed on the dotted line with the Halifax Panthers.
26-year-old Maher will be no stranger to Panthers fans, having spent time at The Shay on loan from Castleford Tigers during 2018, also enjoying a spell in the Championship with Batley Bulldogs in 2017.
The towering Cumbrian prop has revealed how happy is to be back on board in Calderdale on a permanent basis.
“I’m really excited to be joining the Panthers, it’s a brilliant club,” said Maher after putting pen to paper on a deal until the end of 2024. “I was here maybe 4 or 5 years ago now in 2018 and I had a fantastic time on a loan spell then and I’m just looking forward to getting started with the lads really.
“I played with Simon in my previous spell with the club, he was a fantastic player and I know his coaching has clearly gone from strength to strength with the last couple of years where the Panthers have finished. It was a tough discussion at first, it’s a big decision but I’m really happy with the choice I’ve made and I think it’s going to be a really beneficial one.”
“I think personally I’ve definitely still got my best rugby left to play and I’m trying to prioritise my happiness if I’m honest. I’m putting that at the forefront of everything really and I feel this is the place to do that. There’s a fantastic sets of lads, I’ve played with a lot of them before. I’ve got a lot of people here that I can call genuine friends and I think that makes a big difference on the field and I think it’s exciting times for the club so it’s going to be great.”
“I think in 2023, we’ll be looking to build on last year really with the third placed finish which is incredible. And then obviously, a little bit of a slip in the play offs so I think the aim would be a similar league finish if not better and have a real good go at the play offs and see where we can go from there.”
“I’m excited to be playing in front of the Fax fans again. It was an incredible following all those years ago and I’m sure it’s exactly the same now. I just want to work as hard as I can, do my part for the team and hopefully get the results week in week out for them.”
Fax head coach Simon Grix was equally pleased to have Maher on board for 2023 and beyond.
“We’re delighted to have Will with us. I think he gives us Super League experience, he’s been there a while now. Obviously, having him before you forget he was only a very young man at that time. A big skinny version, I’m not saying he’s Arnold Schwarzenegger but he’s filled out a bit since then, he’s become a man. And he’s developed his play as well and really improved. I do think a big man is something we have missed, we’ve got relatively big blokes but no-one like Will.”
“I think he’s definitely going to add to us. People who have seen his game, he’s really good at falling through the line and getting that ruck speed going which is what we all want. A very hardworking and honest player, which will fit nicely with what we have and off the pitch, he’s professional and a very good bloke. I think we’ve got him at a good time, at 26 he’s still got a lot in front of him as well so it’s a good fit for us right now.”
“With regards to values and standards, there’s not much there that we have to get him on board with there as he’s already got a high set of both. So we’re really happy to get him on board and you know, it’s a big signing for us. We don’t sign that many players straight out of Super League, and for Will, I think it’s just come to a stage where other things are probably a bit more important for him.”
“He’ll fit in well, a number of the lads know him already so he’ll slot in seamlessly I would imagine. He’s also been playing a brand of rugby that is not too dissimilar to ours as well which is nice in terms of the crossover and transition. It’s not the first time we’ve tried to get him as well. From his first stint with us, we’ve gone a couple of times to try and see if we can get him. It’s not been a long process but he’s keen to get here and we’re keen to get him on board.”