Former Featherstone prop Makahesi Makatoa to make NRL debut this weekend

Drew Darbyshire

Former Featherstone rop Makahesi Makatoa will make his NRL debut this weekend

Former Featherstone prop Makahesi Makatoa will become the NRL’s third oldest debutant this weekend at the age of 28.

The Cook Islands international played for Featherstone under then coach Ryan Carr during the 2019 campaign, scoring three tries in 25 appearances for the club.

This weekend, Makatoa will become the third oldest player in history to make his NRL debut when Parramatta face Manly on the Sunshine Coast.

Makatoa will be 28 years and 192 days old when he makes his debut, sitting just behind Andrew Davey (28 years, 232 days) and oldest debutant Darren Nicholls (29 years, 80 days) in the history books.

In other NRL news, former Wigan prop George Burgess will return to the NRL in 2022 with St George Illawarra Dragons.

The 29-year-old prop was released by Wigan back in February after hip surgery ruled him out for the rest of the year.

Burgess will now return to Australia – where his twin Tom plays for South Sydney Rabbitohs – until the end of the 2023 season.

Dragons general manager Ben Haran said: “George will make a significant contribution to us here at the Dragons on and off the field; his experience and career achievements will only have a positive influence on the development of the younger players currently within our squad.

“While he has some obstacles still to overcome following his well-documented surgery, our medical staff have already commenced working with George on his rehabilitation.

“Everyone is committed to helping George get back to his fighting best ahead of the 2022 season, but no person more than George himself. We’re looking forward to him and his family joining the club.”

Burgess made 150 appearances for the Rabbitohs between 2012-19 before linking up with Wigan in 2020, where he played eight games before departing.

The front-rower won the NRL Premiership with Souths in 2014 and went on to win the World Cup Challenge the following season.

Burgess has won 15 caps for England on the international stage and has represented his country in one World Cup.