Castleford Tigers have confirmed the signing of Mahe Fonua on a one-year deal, with second and third-year options to retain Fonua’s services 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.
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 fans 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!
“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.”