Nephew of Leeds Rhinos legend joins Super League rivals

Throughout Super League history we have seen some legendary overseas players like Kylie Leuluai at Leeds Rhinos, his nephew Thomas at Wigan Warriors, Jamie Lyon at St Helens and even Andrew Johns at Warrington Wolves

One of the best is Ali Lauiti’iti. He made 200 appearances for Leeds Rhinos exactly and on his 200th appearance he helped the Rhinos win a fifth Grand Final.

He also won two World Club Challenges and two League Leaders’ Shields whilst at Headingley.

He also scored in the 2007 Grand Final against St Helens. In 2012 he joined Wakefield Trinity and now his nephew has made the move to Super League.

Herman Ese’ese is joining Hull FC in 2024.

Joining the club from The Dolphins, the New Zealand and Samoan international prop has signed a three-year deal with the Black & Whites.

The club have secured the services of the 28-year old amidst strong competition for his signature from across Super League and the NRL.

The Kiwi-born forward will bring experience to Hull’s pack in 2024 with over 125 career appearances under his belt in the NRL, previously representing Canterbury Bulldogs, Brisbane Broncos, Newcastle Knights, and Gold Coast Titans, as well as his exploits on the international scene.

The 6ft1in prop has amassed 36 tackle busts across 17 games, with an average of over 100 metres a game – impressive stats he’ll be looking to replicate in the UK next season.

Speaking on the decision to join the club for the 2024 campaign, Ese’ese said: “I’m really excited to be making the move; I’ve always wanted to come over to Super League and test myself on that side of the world. I’m only 28 years-old and feel like I’m in the prime of my career right now, so I’m thrilled to be spending the next three years with Hull.

“I’m grateful for the opportunity to wear the Black & White jersey, and play for a club with such a rich history – I can’t wait to work with Tony and the lads.”

He continued: “Growing up, you always dream of playing in the NRL and playing at an international level. But now I want to come to Super League while I’ve got some of my best years ahead of me. I didn’t want to come over too late in my career – I still have a lot of footy to give and I want to do that with a great club.”

And Ese’ese is excited to buy into the Black & White culture next season in East Yorkshire, including getting involved with the club’s passionate fanbase, and taking on a leadership role within the squad and for the club’s younger stars.

“Having always been a keen watcher of Super League, Hull FC has always been a team I’ve kept an eye on. I admire their desire and grit, and it’s a side that has a lot of potential at the moment.

“From what I’ve seen on TV, the fans are incredibly passionate about their team – that’s great to see and I can’t wait to experience playing in front of them and feeling that energy. I want to play some great footy for them.

“Across all grades, the club is moving in a good direction and I want to come over and help continue that; I’m really keen to get involved with the academy and help share my knowledge and experience with them too.”

As Hull’s first signing ahead of the 2024 season, Head Coach Tony Smith has expressed his excitement at the acquisition of Ese’ese.

“We’ve done a lot of research into getting the right people into the club, and Herman fits the bill. We’ve been talking to him for a while and we’re excited about the prospect of him joining the club.

“We want people who are going to come here and improve us, and help develop the right culture here, and we’re confident he will do that.

“I’m excited to work with him; he has plenty of experience in the NRL and he’s ready for a new challenge, in terms of new competition and taking on some bigger roles and responsibilities too, especially in terms of leadership which is something we need going forward. It’s a perfect fit.

“There are aspects that he wants to improve and develop, but I like that he’s willing to do that while developing his own leadership qualities, taking some onus of the pack. He’s the sort of player that wants to take authority in the middle of the park, and we think he’ll be good at that for us.”