Tweed sign former NRL outside back Fetuli Talanoa
TWEED have added more than 200 games of top-grade experience to their Intrust Super Cup squad with the signing of former South Sydney and Hull outside back Fetuli Talanoa.
A 95-game Rabbitoh in the NRL before playing 126 matches for UK Super League club Hull, Talanoa returned to Australia late last season and made a single ISC appearance for Mackay in Round 22.
The 32-year-old winger or centre has now joined Tweed after approaching the club over the off-season and is a likely inclusion in the Seagulls side to face a young Gold Coast Titans team in Saturday's trial match at Piggabeen Sports Complex.
The Seagulls have also recruited forwards Jesse Cronin (Parramatta), Jerry Key (North Sydney), Jamie Hill (CQ Capras) and Fabian Keary (Redcliffe), as well as halfback Blake Goodman (North Sydney) and outside back Ethan O'Neill (Sydney Roosters), the son of former Broncos and Australian fullback Julian O'Neill.
Coach Ben Woolf has welcomed back a host of players from the squad that reached last season's ISC finals for the first time since 2014, with Titans-contracted players Treymain Spry and Ioane Seiuli joined by backline mainstays Talor Walters, Lindon McGrady, Rowland Jacobs, Luke Jurd and Lee Turner.
Captain John Palavi and fellow forwards Lamar Liolevave, Jarrod Morfett, Kody Parson, Rory Lillis and Brent Woolf have also returned to help cover the loss of Christian Hazard (Souths Logan), Jack Cook, Kirk Murphy (both France), Kalani Going (Canberra) and Cheyne Whitelaw (knee reconstruction).
"I think we will have good strength and depth again in our ISC squad and plenty of talent in our under-age sides and the women's team, which improved so much during the course of last season," Seagulls chief executive Paul Stephenson said.
"We've concentrated on bringing in some good young talent which we feel can develop into very good players at this level and to pick up someone like Fetuli, who approached us just wanting to continue playing after moving back from England, is a real bonus."
Saturday's 6.45pm battle with the Titans will follow three other trials, with the Seagulls' under-18, under-20 and women's teams to take on Northern Rivers/Titans representative sides.
Halfback Toby Sexton and back-rower Juwan Compain, who were key members of the Tweed Mal Meninga Cup side that won last year's national under-18 title, are likely to line up for the Titans against the Seagulls on Saturday night.
Their former under-18 teammates Caleb Hodges, Ben Liyou and Carsil Vaikai appear set to play for Tweed's ISC side.
The club fielded a women's team for the first time last year, holding their own to finish sixth in the SEQ division 1 competition while helping Jessika Elliston (Queensland) and Tarryn Aiken (Australian Nines) gain representative honours.
SATURDAY'S TRIAL SCHEDULE
■ 3pm - Tweed Under-18s vs. Northern Rivers-Titans Under-18s
■ 4.15pm - Tweed Women vs. Northern Rivers-Titans
■ 5.30pm - Tweed Under-20s vs. Northern Rivers-Titans Under-23s
■ 6.45pm - Tweed ISC vs. Gold Coast Titans