Manuokafoa swaps Bulls for Vikings
Tongan forward Manase Manuokafoa has become the first player to announce his departure from relegated Bradford Bulls, agreeing a two-year deal with Widnes Vikings from 2015.
The 29-year-old former South Sydney, Parramatta and North Queensland prop was keen to stay in First Utility Super League and has secured the option of a third season with Denis Betts' Vikings.
"I'm really happy to be joining the Widnes family," Manuokafoa said. "I know a lot of the boys there already. There are some great players at Widnes already and I just can't wait to be a part of it.
"With the situation as it is at Bradford, I needed to get my future sorted and I wanted security for my family. Denis has shown faith in me and I'm over the moon to be joining Widnes and enhancing the club's good name.
"For a front-rower I'm heading into my peak and I want to better myself and improve. Widnes has some good young players coming through but I want to earn my spot in the team. I want to enjoy my game and improve week in week out.
"I'll leave Bradford with some good memories and I've had a good three years there but you have to move on. I've made friends for life there and the fans have been brilliant but this is a new chapter for me at Widnes."
Betts is delighted with the signing, having tried unsuccessfully to persuade him to join the Vikings during the Bulls' financial crisis.
He said: "We have been looking at him for a while now and I almost signed him a few years ago when the Bulls were in administration the first time around but he was pretty happy to stay where he was.
"We were after something different in a front-rower and he's a big man, has good footwork, he can hit hard and he ticks all the boxes we were looking for on the playing side of things.
"But first and foremost we are getting a great character, a hard worker and he wants to improve and that is only going to enhance our playing staff and squad."