HULL CONFIRM PAEA SIGNING FOR 2014
By Matt Holden | 28/06/2013
Hull FC have announced their first signing for next season with the coveted acquisition of sought-after prop forward Mickey Paea
The Tongan powerhouse, who is currently playing for rivals Hull Kingston Rovers, is out of contract at the end of the season and has opted to cross the city to join the Black and Whites on a two-year deal.
Speaking to www.hullfc.com, Paea said, "I have enjoyed my time in England and I'm settled in Hull so that made a tough decision a little easier, but it has been difficult with a number of options on the table.
"I have been grateful for the opportunity at Hull KR, but I felt after two years with the club I needed a fresh start and after weighing up my options Hull FC was the best fit for me and my wife."
He added, "I have a lot of respect for Hull KR and their supporters and I will give my all to the club for the remainder of the year and look forward to joining up with Hull FC in the close season."
The 27-year-old has had an impressive season to date as Super League's form prop forward, including selection in the Exiles side for this year's International Origin fixture against England.
His performances have seen him draw attention from a host of other Super League clubs as well as reported interest from Australia, so Hull FC coach Peter Gentle believes signing the Tongan international is a real coup for the Black and Whites.
"It's a good piece of business for us as we have secured the services of one of the competition's best players, as was proven in the recent Exiles game where he was arguably their best forward," he said.
"He is strong and powerful and had a number of clubs chasing him, so for him to see his future with Hull FC is very positive for us.
"He is the sort of player we need in our side, particularly with Mark O'Meley retiring at the end of the season.
"Mark has been a hard hitting, no-nonsense forward throughout his entire career and brings a lot to our team, so to be able to recruit a player of Mickey's calibre to replace that is very pleasing for us."
Paea, who comes from a rich rugby league family including brothers Lopini (Catalan Dragons) and Lelea (formerly Sydney Roosters), has made 47 appearances since arriving in Super League and last year finished as Hull KR's leading metre maker, the 5th highest in the competition.
Before joining Rovers, he had spells with NRL clubs Sydney Roosters, St George Illawarra and Canterbury Bulldogs, whilst in his early career he also captained the Junior Kangaroos, Australia's national youth side.
Meanwhile, Hull FC will be celebrating Armed Forces Weekend in the coming days, including a specially themed match against Wakefield Wildcats at the KC Stadium on Monday.
The match will also include special guests and displays with Peter Gentle's side playing in a limited edition camouflage kit, whilst the club will host a special roadshow outside St Stephen's shopping centre on Saturday, which is national Armed Forces Day.
Tickets for the Wakefield clash are on sale from the KC Stadium ticket office, by calling 01482 505 600 or at www.hullfcshop.com, with a discounted ticket of £10 available for members of the Armed Forces.