York have secured Tonga international half-back and current loanee Ata Hingano on a three-year deal from next season.
The 25-year-old last week joined the Knights on loan for the remainder of the season from Championship leaders Leigh.
But the half-back, who played for Tonga in the 2017 World Cup semi-final against England, will make the move permanent at the season’s end.
Hingano has penned a long-term deal which will see him remain at York until at least the end of the 2025 season.
York coach James Ford said: “We’ve signed Ata for next season. I spoke to Chris (Chester, Leigh head of rugby) and asked about his availability and the potential of us getting him now.
“I think that Ata’s pedigree is incredible and I just think he needs a run of games.
“He’ll need a chance to know our systems and calls as well as building relationships with those around him, but he’ll pick those systems up pretty quickly because they’re similar to how Leigh operate.”
On linking up with York immediately, Hingano said: “It will be very beneficial.
“To create success and make success, it comes down to trusting the players and coaches around you trusting you and you trusting them. It’s got to be built on trust and that doesn’t come overnight, so getting involved sooner and being around the club can only help.
“It will be great to show my ability, earn the boys’ respect and help the team reach the goals that we have.”
Ata Hingano background
Hingano was born and raised in New Zealand and is of Tongan heritage.
The half-back or hooker made his NRL debut for New Zealand Warriors, where he played 15 games over two seasons.
Hingano made the switch to Canberra Raiders in 2019, making nine appearances.
He dropped down the lower grades before returning to the elite level in Super League with Salford in 2021.
The Tonga international joined Leigh ahead of the 2022 campaign, where he played 17 times before joining York on loan last week.
Hingano has won eight caps for Tonga and played in the 2017 World Cup.