Salford have announced the signing of Mackay Cutters half-back Ata Hingano until the end of the season, with the option of a further two-year deal.
The 24-year-old has experience with the New Zealand Warriors and Canberra Raiders, and was on a train-and-trial with North Queensland Cowboys prior to the start of the 2021 NRL season.
Since his release from the Raiders in October 2019, Hingano has been playing in the Intrust Super Cup for the Cutters, making one appearance in 2020 before the season was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
He was also a mainstay of the Tonga side that reached the semi-finals of the 2017 Rugby League World Cup before their dramatic 20-18 defeat to England.
Hingano’s imminent arrival comes as two of Salford’s current half-backs, Tui Lolohea and Kevin Brown, are set for pastures new when their contracts expire at the end of the season.
Brown, 36, has already confirmed his retirement from the game, while 26-year-old Lolohea has been tipped to reunite with former coach Ian Watson at Huddersfield.
Head coach Richard Marshall said: “Ata is a brilliant addition to the squad and I’m happy to now have everything over the line regarding the signing.
“Having competed at an elite level over in the NRL and for his country, Ata promises to be an exciting player who despite still being quite young, will provide a good level of experience and knowledge.
“We’re looking forward to working with Ata. He’s a great organiser and kicker and he’ll compliment our existing halfbacks. He’s also quite young so still has time to grow and develop.”