Wakefield Trinity Wildcats have signed 24-year-old Samoan prop forward Charlie Leaeno from Australian Rugby League.
Leaeno is an American Samoan and he has been playing for Sydney NSW Cup club Newtown Jets after making appearances for St George Illawarra and Canterbury Bulldogs in Australia’s elite competition, the National Rugby League.
He played six times in first grade and scored three tries for St George Illawarra in 2007 then moved the Bulldogs making seven first-grade appearances during 2008 and 2009. Last year he was a member of the Bankstown team that won the New South Wales Cup Premiership
The Samoan international cuts an impressive figure tipping the scales at 120 kilogram’s (18 stns13lbs) and coming in at 190 centimetres (6ft 3ins).
Leaeno is expected to jet into the UK on Monday and he has been allocated the squad number 35 by the Wildcats.
The Samoan joins the Wildcats on a contract that could keep him at the Hearwell Stadium until the end of 2011, subject to him showing the kind of form that keeps him in contention for the Wildcats’ first-team.
John Kear, the Wildcats’ Head Coach, said: “Charlie should add some punch to our pack, give me extra options when it comes to rotating the props and also increase competition for places within the side. Charlie comes to Wakefield having had experience of playing in the NRL and we have high hopes that he’ll be successful for us in the Engage Super League.
“It was disappointing when Shane Tronc returned to Australia after playing just a handful of games for the club, but Charlie’s arrival at the Wildcats will restore the kind of physical presence we’ve been looking for up front.”