Hull sign NRL star

Hull FC have secured their third signing ahead of the 2015 season with a move for the experienced Gold Coast Titans backrower Mark Minichiello on a two-year deal.

The 32-year old has agreed deal to join the Airlie Birds for the start of the 2015 campaign, making the Italian international the third player to switch to the KC Stadium, following halfbacks Marc Sneyd and Leon Pryce.

Minichiello has made over 250 appearances during his thirteen seasons in the NRL. Since leaving the Sydney Roosters, the club he made his professional debut for in 2002, the backrower enjoyed a successful spell at city rivals South Sydney Rabbitohs, scoring 16 tries in his 85 appearances.

Joining the Gold Coast Titans in their inaugural season back in 2007, Minichiello has made more appearances than any other player for the club, scoring 124 points in 160 games, which earned him international recognition for Italy at the 2013 Rugby League World Cup, as well playing five straight City Origin series between 2007 and 2011.

Speaking to Hull FC Live, Minichiello said, “It is going to be a new challenge for me and I am really looking forward to it I can’t wait to get over there and experience a different league.

“It was a big decision, I have been in the NRL for thirteen seasons now and have played over 250 games here but I think it was maybe just the right time for me to make the change and I guess accept a new challenge.

“I have always had dreams of playing in the Super League, and when this deal and opportunity came about, I just thought it was the right time to jump in and experience something new.”

The backrower added, “Hull is a club with a long history, is one of the bigger clubs over there and from what I hear the fans are very passionate about rugby league, they have a good culture for rugby.

“So when offered the chance to come over and play that was really the only offer I needed to make my decision.”

Hull coach Lee Radford has been on the look-out for an experienced head to bring in to his young squad for 2015, as well as a replacement back rower after Chris Tuson announced his retirement earlier this year. He is hoping that in Minichiello, the younger brother of fellow NRL stalwart Anthony, he may have found both.

“Mark brings vast experience to the club, not just in terms of his ability and game sense on the field, but a wealth of knowledge and the right way to conduct yourself off it,” said Radford.

“It’s been a long time coming, we’ve been talking to Mark and his management about coming to Hull for some time and it is difficult at the moment to bring in players of his calibre from the NRL, you only have to look at who we were in competition with to see why.

“But he has made all the right noises about the club, the opportunity to play Super League and seems extremely committed to making the move which has been pleasing. “It’s a new chapter for him and I know he is full of enthusiasm and can’t wait to get started. He will be a big influence on some of our younger blokes and a real hit with the fans, I’m sure.”