Saints swoop for Manu
St Helens have announced the signing of Hull FC second rower Willie Manu on a two-year contract.
The 32-year-old Tonga international rejected the offer of a new deal from Hull and becomes the first signing for Nathan Brown, who takes over as head coach at St Helens from November.
Manu, currently with the Exiles squad preparing for Saturday’s game against England at Langtree Park, has been a model of consistency since joining Hull from Castleford Tigers six years ago and has missed only three matches in the last three seasons.
“Willie is one of the best back-row forwards in rugby league and will introduce a new dimension to our game,” said St Helens chairman Eamonn McManus.
“He is a devastating runner with a phenomenal workrate and is one of the league’s top tackle-bust makers.
“He is also a great defender too and we look forward to welcoming him next season.”
Manu, who played for Wests Tigers, South Sydney and St George Illawarra before coming to Stobart Super League, was briefly a member of England coach Steve McNamara’s training squad in 2010 after qualifying through residency.
He was Hull’s player of the year in 2011 but, after rejecting their final offer, was given permission to talk to other clubs, who included Catalan Dragons.
McManus added: “I would like thank Hull FC for allowing us permission to speak to Willie and express my appreciation for the way the club has conducted itself during the negotiations.”
Manu could be joined at Langtree Park by his current Hull team-mate Jordan Turner, the 23-year-old former Salford City Reds centre who is also out of contract at the KC Stadium at the end of the year.