HULL SWOOP FOR FULL BACK MCDONNELL
By Matt Holden | 26/10/2012
Hull FC have made their seventh new signing for 2013 with the capture of highly-rated Australian full back Shannon McDonnell on a two-year contract from next season.
Following an impressive campaign with Hull KR, in which he made 21 appearances and earned a call-up to the Exiles team that took on England in the International Origin series, the pacey No.1 had been expected to join an NRL club on his return Down Under.
However, despite significant interest from a number of Australian and Super League sides, the Black and Whites have fought off the attention of rival clubs to bring the 25-year-old to the KC Stadium where he will link-up with former Rovers teammates Liam Watts and Ben Galea next season.
Speaking to www.hullfc.com from his family home in Australia, McDonnell said, “Hull FC is a good place to be, the club are moving forward and they have recruited well for next year so I know I’ve made the right decision.
“It took me a bit of time to settle in another country this year and the weather makes it a bit of a culture shock when you first come over, but I love the city and I just can’t wait to get back over there and get things underway.
“I’m really excited by the squad that the club is putting together and the players that are already here. They had a good season this year and hopefully we will go even better next year.
“Having Peter Gentle at the club was a big pulling card for me too. He used to coach me when I was younger and I’ve got a lot of time and respect for him, so I’m looking forward to working with him again.”
McDonnell follows the likes of England star Gareth Ellis, Australian half back Daniel Holdsworth and Wakefield prop Paul Johnson to the KC Stadium next season and could also link-up with fellow new recruits Joe Arundel and Jason Crookes in the Hull backline in 2013.
An elusive full back blessed with speed to burn, good footwork and impressive handling skills when chiming into the line, the ex-Australian Junior Kangaroo made his NRL debut for Wests Tigers in 2005 before switching to Newcastle Knights.
A former New South Wales under-19s representative, McDonnell bagged a brace of tries against the Black and Whites in a pre-season derby between FC and KR back in January, while he was also on the scoreboard at Manchester’s Etihad Stadium when the two sides met at the Magic Weekend.
And as a close friend of the McDonnell family having coached Shannon during the pair’s time together at Wests, Hull FC head coach Peter Gentle said he was delighted to secure his signature.
He said, “To have a player of Shannon’s ability come available at this late stage in the year was a real bonus for us. He was somebody we had identified earlier in the year when it became clear he would be leaving Hull KR at the end of the season, so we moved very quickly once we heard there was an opportunity to bring him to the club.
“I know Shannon and his family very well and he will be a really good fit for us in terms of the way we want to play next season. Having spent a year in the city already with Hull KR, there is no risk in bringing him over and we are confident he will hit the ground running when he reports for pre-season training.
“Shannon is a player I have followed for a number of years and he impressed in his first season over here with Hull KR, but there is still a lot more to come from him. Along with Richard Horne, he will give us some real strength in depth in the full back position next season.”