Newcastle Knights winger or full back Josh Mantellato has become Hull Kingston Rovers’ third new signing for 2015 after penning a three-year contract with the club.
The Italian international follows in the footsteps of Ken Sio and Darrell Goulding in linking up with the Robins next season and will further strengthen options in the outside backs.
A key player for Italy in last year’s World Cup, Mantellato has made two NRL appearances for the Knights whilst becoming a leading figure in the New South Wales Cup.
On target to top the competition’s points-scoring charts for a third consecutive season in 2014, the prolific goal-kicker told www.hullkr.co.uk he is looking forward to testing himself in Super League.
“I’ve been a bit of a late bloomer and my ambition is to come over there, cement a regular first grade spot and do my bit for the team,” said the 27-year-old.
“I’m not coming over for a holiday, I’m coming to test myself. I’ve played in England a couple of times with the Italian national side and I love how loud the fans are. It’s something I’m looking forward to experiencing every week.
“Hull Kingston Rovers is a passionate club as well so I’m really excited about the move and hopefully what I lack in NRL experience I can make up for in other areas.
“I’ve been able to learn from blokes like Akuila Uate, Darius Boyd and the best coach in the business in Wayne Bennett at the Knights and if I can bring over some tips from those guys all being well I can play my part.”
The 6ft 5in Mantellato played his junior rugby with the Wyong Roos before being picked up by the Knights in 2012 and has been named in the New South Wales Cup Team of the Year in each of the past two seasons.
Head coach Chris Chester added: “Josh comes to us highly recommended from Australia and we are thrilled to have him on board for next season.
“He is a player we targeted six or seven weeks ago and he comes to us as a proven try-scorer and also a fantastic goal-kicker.”