Italian international and ex-Cronulla Sharks star rewarded for World Cup form with Championship move

ITALIAN international Ryan King has been rewarded for his form in the Rugby League World Cup with a two-year deal at Championship side Halifax Panthers.

The 25-year-old originally came through the junior ranks at NRL side Cronulla Sharks before deciding to head to the UK to test himself in the Betfred Championship with Whitehaven.

The forward’s individual performances earned him a call up to the Italy squad for the recent Rugby League World Cup, where he featured twice for the Azzuri.

And now King has revealed just how happy he is to have made the move: “It’s amazing to be here,” said King. “Every time I’ve come here to play it’s been an amazing atmosphere. I’ve had Lachy (Lachlan Walmsley) and Louis (Jouffret) who also spoke to me saying how much they loved it here and watching their games go from strength to strength, I wanted to develop myself and I think it’s the right club for me so I’m really excited to get started with the boys.”

“At first, I wasn’t really going to go anywhere. I was going to stay at Whitehaven but when a club like Halifax come in for you and Grixy (head coach Simon Grix) called pretty keen to have me, it made it a pretty easy decision in the end. With how much success they’ve had over the years with making the play offs every year, it’s something I want to be a part of.”

“Playing in the World cup was a great experience for me, representing my family and everything. Hopefully, I’ll get a lot of confidence out of it and I can bring that down here next season.

“I’d always like to be known as an aggressive sort of bloke I suppose, playing on a edge. I never give up, that’s one thing I’ve always tried to be like and personally, I’ll just do anything for the boys. It’s a team sport at the end of the day and as an individual and as a thirteen all together, you want to win all together.”

“It’s going to be a big season for not just myself individually but for the team as well. I can’t wait to see all the Fax fans getting down next season to get behind us and support us.”

Fax boss Simon Grix was pleased to get such a signing over the line ahead of a big season: “I think Ryan had a strong season last year and he’s been quite consistent this year as well. Whitehaven have had this knack of bringing players over, I feel a little bit bad that we’re taking another one off them but that’s just the game I suppose.”

“As a player, he’s a powerful thing, a big strong thing. He’s certainly caused us some headaches when we’ve played against him over the last couple of seasons there and I do feel like we’ve probably not seen the best of him as well. I do think if Ryan comes down and commits as I hope he will, I think we can see another level to him as well. I think he stills harbours an ambition of playing Super League and I don’t think that’s that far away if we can tidy up a few areas of his game and build on what he already has as well. So yeah, I think he’ll end up being a good signing for us.”

“He’s got some familiarity there with those boys and that will certainly help him drop in and blend into our group. We’re really happy to get him on board. This signing was a conversation that started a while back. We were trying to look for back row options and ones with specific traits, one of those being some punch with the ball in hand. Also a decent line runner as well and other bits and bobs which Ryan is, he fit the bill.”

“He’ll join us after this World Cup and get right into it. We’ll start pushing him and helping him develop and get better at the areas he needs to, improve the skills he’s already got and hopefully we can see a really good player over the next couple of years.”