Whitehaven coach Gary Charlton insists he had no hesitation in re-signing experienced backrower Karl Olstrum (pictured), despite him having a spell out of the game.
The 27-year-old former Wath Brow junior will start a second stint with Whitehaven, having also had two different spells with local rivals Workington Town, where he worked with Charlton previously.
The Haven coach explained: “There were a couple of minor issues with Karl when I had him as a player when I was coach at Workington Town,” he said.
“But they were nothing that affected his performances for us.
“He’s a very talented forward, well capable of playing in the Championship and I am sure he’s going to have an important role in our efforts to meet the challenge posed by the higher level.
“I have no doubt about his fitness and readiness for the new season, because he’s always kept himself fit.”
Olstrom had joined Haven for the first time at the start of the 2017 season, but he was released in April 2018 and a few weeks later re-joined Workington Town.
Last week the club formally confirmed that their unnamed overseas halfback target – which League Express understands was former Featherstone PNG international Ase Boas – had decided to remain at his current club.
A Haven statement read: “The Papua New Guinea player had actually signed registration forms with the west Cumbrians, but did not follow up by completing the rest of the paperwork required by the RFL.
“Then the player’s agent contacted Whitehaven to say that his client had decided to stay in PNG and continue his career at home.
“He had spent last season with a Championship club in Britain.
“It appears that he may have been training with a club back home and they have come up with an improved contract offer to stay.”
Charlton added: “It’s very disappointing because he was the halfback we were looking for.
“Everything about him convinced us that he would be a perfect fit for our team and squad.
“But we are getting over it.
“This is not the end of the world and we are actively looking for a halfback, although at this time of the year it’s not going to be easy.”