13 Oct 2021

Fonua heading to Tigers

Castleford Tigers have confirmed the signing of outside back Mahe Fonua on an initial one-year deal.

Further second and third-year options to retain Fonua’s services are in the Club’s favour.

The 28-year-old Tongan international has spent the last two seasons with Hull FC, his second stint at the Black & Whites.

Fonua played a vital role in the East Yorkshire side winning back-to-back Challenge Cup Finals at Wembley Stadium during his first spell with the club in 2016 and 2017, scoring 31 tries in 58 games, and being named in the Super League Dream Team in both those seasons.

A former Melbourne Storm and West Tigers player, Fonua has a wealth of experience in both NRL and Super League, as well as international caps with the Tongan national side. 

The highly exciting edge player adds further strike to the Fords’ backline options for the 2022 season.

Speaking exclusively to castlefordtigers.com about the move to join Castleford Tigers, Mahe Fonua said: “I’m really happy and excited to be joining Castleford, happy it’s all sorted and completed.

“I’ve loved playing against Cas, it's such a competitive team. Going there as an opposition player to Wheldon Road it’s a little bit daunting but an awesome atmosphere.

“It’s daunting because I’ll get teased about my hair standing on the wing, I can just hear fan rinsing me! Such a good atmosphere, I love it.

“Everyone is really close to the game and I like that feeling about the stadium, it’s good from both sides, away fans at one side and the rest of the stadium is all home fans – you can always hear them throughout the 80 minutes.
“Hopefully at The Jungle, I get some compliments now instead of some abuse!”

Fonua is ready for the challenge of joining a new club, and with several other new players being welcomed into the Tigers for 2022 he is excited about being part of Castleford’s new era.

“For me, I think the timing has been ideal, with Radford coming in, the start of a new chapter, and the new signings he’s bringing into the club – I’m really excited to be a part of it.”

Fonua’s move to the Tigers sees him link back up with former coach Lee Radford, a man who he has a tremendous amount of respect for, and he cannot wait to get back working with him.

“One of the key factors for me signing with Cas was the relationship I have with Lee, but at the same time I see the squad he’s aiming to build, and I wanted to be part of it. I think our team can do some damage and who wouldn’t want to be part of that?

“When I play under him, I feel he gets the best out of me with the way he treats me and all his players, he gets to know each player on a personal level. The boys want to go out and really do a job for him as well as themselves, it makes me want to always be as my best.”

Castleford Tigers Head Coach Lee Radford shared his delight at securing Fonua’s services as part of the #NewCasEra and said: “I’m pleased for him, I think it will be a breath of fresh air for his career, I’m pleased for Castleford, I think we are getting a good person and a recognisable rugby league face. When he’s on, he is on, and there’s not too many better around when he is.

“Mahe knows the situation, Jordan Turner was arguably Castleford’s best player last season, Jake Mamo got Warrington’s Players Player of the Year, he is under no illusion how difficult it’s going to be. Judging by how he looks at the moment, it looks like he is already knuckling down, ready to go, and in my opinion, right some wrongs and prove a few people wrong.

“He can cover both centre and wing, but I think centre is the position he is wanting to play, again, he is very aware of the challenges in front of him if he wants to nail that spot down. Having that competition can only be a good, healthy thing for the team moving forward.

“I think we have signed some real footy players for 2022, like Kenny, Jake and now Mahe, there is some real rugby in there. I think letting them express themselves and add their bits to the squad will be crucial if we are to have some success.”

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