Papua New Guinea star Nene Macdonald makes Super League return on long-term deal with Salford Red Devils

Ben Olawumi
Nene Macdonald

Papua New Guinea star Nene Macdonald - Alamy

Salford Red Devils have tonight confirmed the signing of Nene Macdonald ahead of 2024, with the Papua New Guinea ace putting pen to paper on a four-year deal.

The move is one which has been rumoured over the last few weeks since his Leeds Rhinos exit. Macdonald was granted paternity leave by the Rhinos, returning home to Australia for the birth of his child, but not returning in the expected timescale.

He departed Headingley by mutual consent, and Leeds chief Rohan Smith said he expected the utility back to remain down under despite the then-circling reports of Salford’s interest.

That hasn’t proven to be the case, with the Kumuls star signing for the Red Devils on a deal running until the end of 2027 following his four-try haul for Justin Holbrook’s side against the Cook Islands over the weekend.

Nene Macdonald’s Super League return confirmed

Former NRL ace Macdonald becomes Salford’s first new recruit for 2024, with youngster Amir Borouh last week becoming the latest off-contract player in the pack to commit his future to the club.

Having joined Paul Rowley’s side, the 29-year-old – comfortably able to operate as a centre or winger –  said: “Firstly, thank you to the coaching staff and everyone behind the scenes that helped me get this deal over the line.

“It is an exciting time for me to start a new chapter in my life, with a great team. I am excited to get out there for 2024 and the style of footy Salford play really suits me. It’s a great team that can push to play in finals and win some trophies.

“Thanks to a good friend of mine, Krisnan Inu for putting in a good word and letting me know nothing but good things about the club. I am excited to get in front of the Salford fans, play some good footy and earn their respect!”

Papua New Guinea international joins Red Devils on long-term deal

Macdonald first made the move over to England with Leigh ahead of 2022, starring for the then-Centurions in the Championship as they secured promotion at a canter before sealing a move to Leeds.

New boss Rowley has revealed he was interested in the towering talent before former club Leigh captured him, and is delighted to have him in the Salford pack for 2024 and beyond.

The Red Devils head coach added: “Nene is a very significant addition to our team and I am looking forward to seeing him entertain our fans in 2024.

“I wanted to sign Nene two years ago – as he is very much my kind of athlete – so to eventually land him is fantastic.

“Massive credit goes to Krisnan Inu for bringing this deal from start to finish to our table, materialising from the friendship and respect he has with Nene and his advisors.

“Myself, Kurt (Haggerty) and Kris are looking forward to welcoming Nene to our group and helping him show his best in a Salford shirt!”

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