Hull FC’s new NRL recruit lands in UK with pre-season already underway ahead of 2024 campaign

Ben Olawumi
Franklin Pele

Franklin Pele in action for Canterbury Bulldogs - Alamy

New Hull FC recruit Franklin Pele has made the move over to the UK from Down Under, and will begin his pre-season with Tony Smith’s squad shortly as they get ready for the 2024 season.

The towering prop – who stands at six feet and three inches – will turn 23 exactly a week before Christmas Day, and moves over alongside wife Taylor Marić.

As confirmed back in September, Pele has penned a two-year deal with the Black and Whites. Born in Auckland with Samoan heritage, the forward moved from New Zealand to Australia aged seven, making his NRL debut in 2021 for the Cronulla Sharks before being sidelined with an injury picked up in a reserve game.

Pele then featured six times amongst Australia’s elite this year in the colours of the Canterbury Bulldogs, but upon joining Hull, insisted it was a move he makes through the need of playing regularly.

At the time his signing was announced, he said: “I’m really excited because it’s going to be a good challenge for me. I can’t wait to come over and meet all of the boys and the Hull fans, who I have heard great things about.

“I’m at the stage in my career now where I need to be playing consistent footy. Coming up against tough opposition in Super League week in, week out will help me go from strength to strength.”

FC confirmed his arrival via social media, including X, posting a picture of him smiling with his thumbs up in the arrivals hall at the airport.

Hull FC’s new NRL recruit Franklin Pele lands in UK

The front-rower became Hull’s third signing ahead of 2024 in September, following on from Dolphins ace Herman Ese’ese and Bulldogs team-mate Jayden Okunbor.

Two months on, and the Black and Whites’ recruitment tally now stands at nine, with Fa’amanu Brown the latest to be brought in having starred for the Newcastle Knights Down Under this term.

Jack Walker (Hull KR), Liam Tindall (Leeds Rhinos), Jack Ashworth (Huddersfield Giants) & Morgan Smith (Wakefield Trinity) have all also been recruited by FC boss Smith and his team, while youngster Damel Diakhate was made a permanent signing following a successful trial.

For the majority of Hull’s 2024 squad, pre-season training began earlier this week, circa seven weeks on from the end of the regular 2023 Super League season.

Smith’s side will undoubtedly target a better season than the one just gone come 2024, finishing this term 10th on the ladder having lost 17 of their 27 games, also being knocked out of the Challenge Cup at the quarter-final stage by St Helens.

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