Italy World Cup ace makes Championship switch for 2024: ‘I’m grateful for the opportunity’

Drew Darbyshire
Jake Maizen Italy Alamy

Jake Maizen in action for Italy at last year's World Cup

Whitehaven have signed Italy international Jake Maizen from fellow Championship club Halifax Panthers on a one-year deal for 2024.

The 26-year-old utility back arrives in Cumbria having scored eight tries in 19 appearances for Halifax in 2023. He also had a spell on loan at Hunslet, playing two games for the League 1 club.

Maizen was born and raised in Australia and is of Italian heritage. He qualifies to play for Italy through his father’s side of the family, with his grandparents moving to Australia during the war.

Maizen has won three caps for Italy, which all came in the group stages of last year’s World Cup, scoring four tries in the tournament, including a hat-trick in a 28-4 win over Scotland in Newcastle.

The Azzurri representative will now make the move up to Cumbria after penning a deal with Whitehaven for the 2024 campaign.

On joining Haven, Maizen said: “I’m grateful for the opportunity the club has put in front of me and excited to see where this group of lads can end up.

“Speaking with Jonty (Gorley, head coach) and the board, Whitehaven feels like the right place for me to come and enjoy my footy again.

“I’m hopeful we can push for finals in the upcoming season and I’m keen to give my all to help achieve that.”

Whitehaven boss Jonty Gorley pleased to welcome Italy star Jake Maizen to Cumbria

Haven coach Jonty Gorley admits he jumped at the chance to sign Maizen as soon as he found out that he was available.

He said: “When I heard that Jake might be available I jumped at the chance to speak to him.

“I knew of Jake a couple of years ago and watched him in the World Cup for Italy

“What excites me about him is the pace he’s got along with an evasive running game. He’s dangerous every time he carries the ball.

“These qualities will only add to the squads potential as we lacked a bit of pace last year in certain areas, so when my outsides-backs break in our own half I’d like to think they could finish, I think Jake will give us that threat along with a couple of other players.

“Jake can play centre, wing and full-back and has even played in the halves before, so he’ll definitely add quality and competition to the squad.”

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