Warrington sign Penrith’s Sitaleki Akauola on two-year deal

Warrington Wolves have announced the signing of prop Sitaleki Akauola from NRL side Penrith Panthers on a two-year deal as of next season until the end of November 2019.

The 25-year-old Tongan international made his club debut for the Panthers in 2016 having signed from Wests Tigers; for who he previously made his first-grade debut for in 2013. He’s made 21 appearances for Penrith since signing but will now head to Super League next season to link up with the Wolves and former Penrith man Peta Hiku.

“We are looking forward to Sitaleki joining us,” Wolves coach Tony Smith said.

“He’s certainly got impact. He’s a big man who will bring plenty of attributes to us and into our forward pack. It’s a very good signing. He’s keen to play in Super League and I think he’s just the right player at this time when we need to strengthen in that area. He’ll bring us exactly what we need.”

Chief executive Karl Fitzpatrick added: “We’ve been monitoring the player market very carefully and waiting for the right type of player to become available. When we were made aware of Sitaleki’s availability we knew we had to act fast as he’s extremely well thought of in the NRL. With his aggressive style and explosive running he gained a great reputation in Australia, I think he’ll become a firm favourite with the Warrington supporters.”

“For me personally it’s a really good opportunity to give me that extra drive,” Akauola said. “I’ve heard a lot about the Super League so I am excited and looking forward to the new challenges. I know there’s a lot of quality players at the Warrington club so hopefully I can add something to that. I like the crash and bash in the middle.

“I’ve spoken to Peta (Hiku) about the move, he’s said nothing but good things. He loves it over there and since he moved the players have all made him feel very welcome which is good to hear. I’m looking forward to being part of Warrington Wolves.”