Castleford Tigers have confirmed that they have signed outside back Mahe Fonua from Hull FC on an initial one-year deal with options for two more years in the club’s favour.
Fonua, 28, a Tongan international, has spent the last two seasons with Hull FC in his second stint with the Black & Whites, helping them to Challenge Cup victories at Wembley in 2016 and 2017 and being selected in the Dream Team in both of those years.
He has also played with Melbourne Storm and Wests Tigers.
In joining Castleford he will link up with his former Hull FC coach Lee Radford.
“One of the key factors for me signing with Cas was the relationship I have with Lee, but at the same time I see the squad he’s aiming to build, and I wanted to be part of it. I think our team can do some damage and who wouldn’t want to be part of that,” said Fonua.
“When I play under him, I feel he gets the best out of me with the way he treats me and all his players, he gets to know each player on a personal level. The boys want to go out and really do a job for him as well as themselves, it makes me want to always be as my best.”
Since his appointment Radford has taken steps to strengthen the Tigers’ threequarter line after the retirement of former captain Michael Shenton and he believes the arrival of Fonua will result in a battlefor selection.
“Mahe knows the situation,” said Radford.
“Jordan Turner was arguably Castleford’s best player last season, Jake Mamo got Warrington’s Players Player of the Year, so he is under no illusion how difficult it’s going to be. Judging by how he looks at the moment, it looks like he is already knuckling down, ready to go, and in my opinion, right some wrongs and prove a few people wrong.
“He can cover both centre and wing, but I think centre is the position he is wanting to play, again. He is very aware of the challenges in front of him if he wants to nail that spot down. Having that competition can only be a good, healthy thing for the team moving forward.
“I think we have signed some real footy players for 2022, like Kenny (Edwards), Jake and now Mahe, there is some real rugby in there. I think letting them express themselves and add their bits to the squad will be crucial if we are to have some success.”