Papua New Guinea international, ex-Leeds Rhinos forward makes Championship return; Links up with Kumuls colleague for 2024

Ben Olawumi
Wellington Albert

Wellington Albert in action for Papua New Guinea at the 2021 Rugby League World Cup - Alamy

Papua New Guinea international Wellington Albert has penned a one-year deal to return to Featherstone Rovers for 2024, departing Super League outfit London Broncos to do so.

Albert has previously featured for the Rovers on both dual-registration and as a loanee during his time with Leeds Rhinos. Across two separate stints in 2019 and 2020 respectively,  the prop has amassed 18 appearances for Fev, scoring two tries.

The first of those stints saw Featherstone reach the Million Pound Game, losing out to Toronto Wolfpack over in Canada.

Having sat the entirety of the 2021 season out through injury after joining Keighley Cougars in League 1, he linked up with then-second tier side London ahead of 2022.

Making 41 appearances over the two campaigns which have followed, the Kumuls ace crossed the whitewash six times, and this term helped the Broncos achieve promotion back to Super League for the first time since 2019.

But having won promotion, he now departs Mike Eccles’ men and now makes the move back to Featherstone on a permanent basis ahead of the upcoming season.

Papua New Guinea international Wellington Albert makes Championship return with Featherstone Rovers

The 29-year-old – born in the town of Mendi – will link up with former team-mate and international colleague McKenzie Yei at Post Office Road, with the pair featuring together for PNG at last year’s delayed World Cup.

With 14 appearances to his name for the Kumuls, powerhouse Albert began his career with the Mendi Muruks before linking up with Queensland Cup outfit PNG Hunters for the 2014 campaign.

He then became just the second Papua New Guinean to be signed by an NRL club without having played any junior rugby league in Australia when Penrith Panthers picked him up, featuring at New South Wales Cup level without breaking into the reigning Australian elite kings’ senior ranks.

Widnes Vikings were the club to provide Albert with his first chance in the British game, and after a 2018 which saw him feature 12 times, also appearing as a loanee for Keighley, he was recruited by Leeds following Widnes’ relegation.

From there came his temporary stays with Featherstone and his permanent stint with the Broncos, sandwiched between the move to Keighley which never came off.

Having tied the forward down on a permanent basis, Rovers head coach James Ford told their club website: “We’re really pleased to bring Wellington back to the club.

“He was a key part of London’s season last year and he’s desperate to repeat that with us. He’ll bring additional size and power to our team, and I’m sure we’re all excited to see his strength of carry in a Rovers shirt once again.”

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