Wakefield Wildcats are pleased to announce five-time Grand Final winner Ali Lauitiiti has signed a new one-year extension that will see the second-rower remain at the Rapid Solicitors Stadium until the end of the 2014 season.
The former New Zealand international arrived at Trinity at the beginning of 2012 after a highly successful eight years at Leeds Rhinos where he became the clubs most successful overseas player in their entire history. On top of Lauitiiti’s five Grand Final winning rings he has won two World Club Challenges and has twice been named in the Super League Dream Team.
The back-rowers pedigree is not to be questioned and has been a vital player for head coach Richard Agar as the season has progressed. Lauitiiti recently marked his 200th Super League appearance with a victory over Castleford and has impressed the Wildcats faithful with his powerful runs and superb ball handling skills.
The 33-year-old has made 21 appearances in the red, white and blue and has six tries to add to his half-dozen assists while he Kiwi remains in the top handful of most successful offloads throughout the competition, underlying his inventive attacking prowess.
The positive news comes on the back of Paul Aiton signing a new deal until the end of the 2015 season and playmaker Tim Smith committing himself for 2013 as Agar looks to build on a progressive first year in charge.
“I am really happy with it, it’s another year with the team and I’m fortunate enough to be given another contract so I am very happy,” said Lauitiiti.
“The boys have been great and the coaching staff too so all in all it’s been good. It is a good unit, the team spirit here is really good and its one of the big factors in us doing so well in the last month or so, it’s real good here and it’s good to be a part of it.
“It was an easy decision, I’ve really enjoyed it with the boys so I’m going to have an extra year and hopefully I can play a bit better next year.
Lauitiiti’s experience has been a key component of the Wildcats recent run and will be invaluable in the final two games against Widnes and Salford, with the fans favourite confident the Wildcats can keep their side of the bargain in the pursuit of a play-off place.
“We are confident within ourselves (of reaching the play-offs) but having said that Widnes and Salford are good teams, they are not walkovers.
“The first of those games is obviously against Widnes so it won’t be easy, we have to be on the top of our game to win that, it’s going to be tough.”
The Wildcats face Widnes on Sunday 2nd September with kick-off at 6.45pm. Buy your tickets in the Ridings Centre Store, the Rapid Solicitors Stadium Box Office, call 01924 201548/211611 or buy online.
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