Featherstone Rovers have announced that Reni Maitua has had his visa approved after significant delays, and will be boarding a flight to the UK on Friday to arrive in time for their Kingstone Press Championship game against Sheffield Eagles on Monday evening (6pm).
Maitua is vastly experienced and has made 174 NRL appearances during his career with Canterbury Bulldogs, Cronulla Sharks and Parramatta Eels. Maitua has three caps for Samoa where he played a part in their 2013 World Cup and 2014 Four Nations teams as well as one cap for Australia.
Maitua started his career at Canterbury Bulldogs where he appeared from the bench in the 2004 NRL Grand Final victory against Sydney Roosters and played against Leeds Rhinos in 2005 in the World Club Challenge. He made 100 appearances for the Bulldogs scoring 23 tries before signing for Cronulla in 2009 where he made eight appearances. He then made 53 appearances for Parramatta Eels before returning to Canterbury Bulldogs last season making 13 appearances, scoring one try.
Speaking exclusively to www.featherstonerovers.net, Maitua said: “I’m delighted everything has been approved and I’m buzzing about coming to the UK. It’s been a long process and the last few days have been quite anxious but this is fantastic news. I’ve been keeping up to date with what’s been happening at the club and I’ve been speaking to Pat on a weekly basis. I just can’t wait to get started now and meet my new teammates and the coaching staff.”
“It’s felt a long time for me over here waiting to get everything sorted and I’d like to thank everyone for their patience. I was really hoping I’d be here for the start of the season and then I thought there was a chance that I’d be over in time to face Leigh Centurions and my mate Fuifui Moimoi but unfortunately that wasn’t to be. He’s a good friend of mine so I’ll look forward to facing him later on in the season and I know he’s already got a bit of a cult following!”
Maitua last played in November in the Four Nations but he has been keeping in top shape during the off season. “I’ve been training well over here and I’m in shape but obviously there’s a difference between being fit and match fit and you only get that by playing games. I hope people are patient and let me settle in to my new environment and get to know my new teammates. I’ve been training continuously so I’ve got a decent base fitness but it will only be when I’m training with the boys and the motivation that brings when I’ll get up to speed and hopefully help Rovers achieve their Super League ambitions, I just can’t wait to play footy again and meet everyone.”