Papua New Guinea ace pens new deal with Championship outfit Bradford Bulls: ‘An undoubted fans’ favourite’

Ben Olawumi
Makahesi Makatoa tackles Keven Appo

Papua New Guinea ace Keven Appo is tackled by Cook Islands star Makahesi Makatoa at the delayed 2021 Rugby League World Cup

Bradford Bulls have tied down Papua New Guinea ace Keven Appo for 2024 with the with the forward penning a new one-year deal at Odsal.

The 24-year-old made his international debut for the Kumuls off the bench at last year’s World Cup against Tonga, also featuring against the Cook Islands and as the unused 18th man in their quarter-final defeat to England.

He then made a permanent move to these shores, signing for the Bulls ahead of this season back in November last year. With a lengthy spell needed to secure a visa, Appo missed Bradford’s first two games of the year, debuting against Widnes Vikings in Round 3.

The Goroka-born ace went on to become a mainstay in the Yorkshire outfit’s pack though, appearing 29 times as they reached the play-off semi-finals, and he’s now committed to another year with the club.

Bradford Bulls tie down Papua New Guinea ace Keven Appo: ‘An undoubted fans’ favourite’

Powerhouse Appo is able to play both as a loose forward and in the second row, scoring 10 tries in his first year with Bradford including one in their semi-final defeat against Toulouse Olympique over in France.

Known as ‘King Kev’ at Odsal, he puts pen to paper on a contract extension thanks to the help of the club’s fans in raising funds to help secure his signature for 2024, and paid tribute to them via the Bulls’ website.

The forward said: “The club is extremely family orientated, which is amazing, and my family and I have felt that we are part of this big family.

“The staff, players and fans have been so supportive, which makes us feel like we are not far away from home, even though we are thousands of miles away. Choosing to stay was an easy decision for my family and I to make.”

Meanwhile, Bradford’s Chief Executive Officer Jason Hirst revealed getting this new deal over the line with Appo hasn’t been a straight forward process.

He added: “I’m delighted that we’ve now finally got this particular deal over the line. Although there was a strong desire from the outset, from both player and club, to extend Keven’s contract, it has proven to be a rather complex and time-consuming process.

“The announcement of this contract extension is testament to the will and patience of both parties and everyone at the club is understandably delighted to have secured the services of an undoubted fans’ favourite.”

Bulls pack for 2024 nears completion

Appo becomes the 25th confirmed man in the pack next year at Odsal, with other names including Huddersfield Giants legend Michael Lawrence and Jorge Taufua, with the ex-Wakefield Trinity ace extending his own contract last week.

There’ll be a new man in charge of the Bulls, with Eamon O’Carroll taking the helm following his departure from Super League Grand Finalists Catalans Dragons, where he’s been assistant to Steve McNamara.

Former Newcastle Thunder boss O’Carroll is delighted that powerhouse Appo will be in his squad following their 3rd-place finish this term, saying: “Kev has been an integral part of what the club has achieved this season. He brings energy, enthusiasm and experience.

“From watching the games this season, it’s clear to see that he plays a really important role for the team and has the ability to change the momentum in games.

“His hard work has been rewarded and we are looking forward to welcoming him back in pre-season to start preparations for a big 2024 season.”

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