Hull FC are delighted to confirm the signing of international back-rower Manu Ma’u from Paramatta Eels on an initial two-year deal.
The Black & Whites have swooped to capture the signature of the 30-year old Tongan international, fighting off competition from clubs both in the UK and in the NRL to lure him to the KCOM Stadium.
A major coup for the Betfred Super League, explosive forward Ma’u has also represented New Zealand at international level, and is considered by teammates and opponents to be one of the most fearsome forwards in the game Down Under.
The Kiwi-born star started his career in the game with New Zealand Warriors’ reserve-grade side Auckland Vulcans in the New South Wales Cup in 2009, before heading to the Eels reserve side Wentworthville Magpies.
Ma’u made his senior debut in the NRL in 2014, and was named in the Kiwi Test squad for the first-time the following season.
He would go on to feature six times for his homeland, including all five matches of the 2016 Four Nations in the UK, before switching allegiance to Tonga ahead of the 2017 Rugby League World Cup.
Ma’u would similarly feature in every game of the side’s historic run to the semi-finals of the competition, alongside the likes of Jason Taumalolo and Sika Manu, becoming influential member of their squad.
During six seasons with the Eels he has made over 100 NRL appearances, earning their coveted Ken Thornett Medal as their Player of the Season in 2016.
‘The Tongan Terminator’, as he was recently nicknamed, has averaged 117 metres per game across his career, and will be regarded as one of the best forwards in Super League next season.
He becomes the latest name to confirm his place with the Airlie Birds for the 2020 season, alongside Tonga team mate Mahe Fonua and former Grand Final winners Josh Jones and Adam Swift.
Speaking with plenty of enthusiasm about his move to Hull FC, Ma’u said: “I’m hugely excited for the challenge. I’ve read so much about Super League and about Hull FC itself, particularly about the passionate fans over there, so I can’t wait to make the move.
“It’s taken a couple of months to get over the line. My manager kept telling there was interest from the club so it took me a bit of time to make the decision, speaking to my wife and family to think about what was best for me. Having a young family with a wife and three kids, it was important they were happy with the decision, and they were. We’re all thrilled.
“I’m at a stage now where I want to challenge myself overseas and move out of my comfort zone. Hull have given me that chance.
“I’ve spoken to a few players I know well about the club. I keep up with Mahe Fonua from my time playing for Tonga, as well as Sika Manu and Bureta Faraimo who I know too, and they couldn’t speak highly enough about the club. That made me only more eager to join the club.”
Hull FC head coach Lee Radford said: “I’m really pleased to get such a quality signing in Manu over the line. To get that level of player in our competition, at the peak of his career is a real coup for the club.
“I’ve only heard good things about him on and off the field. I’m sure his no-nonsense style of play will make him a firm fans-favourite when he arrives.
“Manu has a real toughness in his game which I really admire.”
Meanwhile, Hull FC Chief Executive, James Clark, also added: “This is not just a statement signing for Hull FC, but also for Super League and it highlights the real depth of overseas and domestic talent we will have in our competition next season.
“Manu and Alisi [wife] have been a pleasure to deal with throughout this lengthy process and their genuine excitement to join our club is infectious.
“I’d like to thank Tyran Smith [agent] for his extremely professional approach in helping us make this move a reality. We are looking forward to Manu joining us next season.”