WARRINGTON Wolves have announced the signing of three big front-rowers Thomas Mikaele, Sam Kasiano and Gil Dudson.
Mikaele is an explosive ball carrier who joins from Wests Tigers on a two-and-a-half-year deal with immediate effect and will join up with his new teammates in the UK next week.
The 24-year-old New Zealand-born prop will add size to the pack at 6ft 4in and 17st 2lbs and has made 66 NRL appearances. Kasiano and Dudson join from Catalans Dragons on two-year deals for the 2023-2024 seasons.
The duo bring a wealth of experience in the middle and have been instrumental in the Dragons’ recent on-field success in Super League.
At 19st 12lb and 6ft 5in New Zealand and Samoa international Kasiano is a colossus figure through the middle and was named in the Super League Dream Team following a standout season in 2021.
Wales international Dudson is another big unit at 6ft 2in and 17st 11lb and is a Grand Final and Challenge Cup Final winner.
Thomas Mikaele said: “I haven’t been excited like this in a long time. It’s pretty surreal and has happened so quickly over the past couple of days.
“To get the opportunity to come over to the Wire is exciting for me and my family. I can’t wait to get over there. It’s a fresh start for me and an opportunity to showcase what I can do.
“Being so young still I’ve still got plenty of time and a lot of growth in the game. My best footy is still ahead of me and I’m keen to start showcasing that. Hopefully I can improve a lot as a player at Warrington.
“I’ve been at Wests for six years and that’s pretty much all I’ve known. I’ve grown a lot since playing my first year up to now and I’ll always be grateful I got to play in the NRL and represent the Wests Tigers. I’m keen for my next chapter now which is in Super League.”
Sam Kasiano said: “I’m really excited to join Warrington next season and I’m looking forward to the challenge.
“Playing in England was something I always wanted to do after France and experience life and rugby over there.
“My main focus is on doing well for Catalans for the rest of this season and then to try and play my best footy for Warrington. I’m excited to work with Daryl [Powell] and the boys next year.
“Gil’s a great player and even better person too so I’m excited to still be teammates next year.”
Gil Dudson added: “I’m looking forward to it and a new challenge next season.
“I really enjoy living and playing over here but the opportunity to move to Warrington was too good to pass up.
“Having spoken to Daryl he’s got big plans and I’m happy the club are showing trust in him too and the time to reap the rewards of those plans. I’m excited to be a part of it and the challenge ahead.
“I’m glad I don’t have to tackle Sam next year too!”
Warrington Wolves Head Coach Daryl Powell said: “I’m delighted we’re able to boost our front-row for this season and next with three real quality signings.
“You only have to look at the last time we faced Catalans at what a handful Sam [Kasiano] is. Having spoken to him he’s a genuine, nice guy who’s passionate about the game. All I’ve heard since coming to the club is we need “size” and Sam certainly fits the bill. He’s a big man who can play and run over the top of people. He understands the game, is competitive and has a skill set which is perfect for how I like the game to be played.
“Gil [Dudson]’s a perfect starting front-rower. He’s a tough, aggressive prop who sets the platform up for the rest of the game through the middle. He’s got key leadership skills too having been in the game for a long time and I think he’ll be awesome for us.
“Thomas [Mikaele] is 24 and I wasn’t sure we’d be able to get someone like him from the NRL so I’m delighted he’s signed with us. He’s an explosive ball carrier, an extremely hard-worker and a big unit who carries the ball with intent. He can dismantle a defensive line and is another perfect signing.”
The signings of Mikaele and Kasiano are subject to work permits. All three players will be sponsored by Ackerley Projects Ltd.