Newcastle Thunder have signed New Zealander half-back Nikau Williams from Championship rivals Whitehaven on a one-year deal for 2023.
The 22-year-old Kiwi has spent the last two seasons with Whitehaven, scoring 12 tries and kicking 47 goals in 55 appearances for the club.
Williams becomes Chris Thorman’s second signing as Newcastle head coach. Thunder announced the return of forward Rhys Clarke last week.
Williams said: “I’m excited to be joining Thunder and to see what the new season brings.
“I’m looking forward to meeting up with the lads and really getting stuck in for pre-season.
“I played against Thunder a couple times last season and when it clicked, they played a great brand of rugby.
“I know there’s been some big changes at the club but under Chris (Thorman, coach) I expect the side to take some big steps forward and really challenge the league.”
Newcastle Thunder coach delighted with Nikau Williams signing
Williams has been in the junior systems at the Canterbury Bulldogs and Melbourne Storm.
Thunder coach Chris Thorman said: “Having been head coach at Workington you know your arch rivals are Whitehaven and Nikau was always a thorn in our side when we played against them.
“I’m really looking forward to working with Nikau, I think he’s the full package and that is what you need in your number seven.
“There are also some areas I’ll need him to improve but likewise there are some areas where he’s developed really well over the last couple of years at Whitehaven.
“Like I say I’m looking forward to working with him and he’s someone that’s going to be the mainstay of our side over the next couple of years.”