St Helens confirm Waqa Blake signing as Fiji star takes the vacant No. 3 jersey: ‘I can’t wait’

Drew Darbyshire
Waqa Blake St Helens Alamy

Fiji international Waqa Blake has joined St Helens for 2024 - Alamy

St Helens have confirmed the signing of Fiji international centre Waqa Blake on a one-year contract for the 2024 Super League season.

It has been no secret that over the off-season Saints have been working on bringing in a replacement for Tonga international Will Hopoate, who retired at the end of last season.

And they have now found their new number three in the shape of Blake, who has scored 62 tries in 165 NRL appearances for Penrith Panthers and Parramatta Eels.

Blake, who played on the wing in Parramatta’s defeat to Penrith in the 2022 NRL Grand Final, has represented Fiji on the international stage, winning five caps for his homeland.

On joining St Helens for 2024, Blake said: “I can’t wait. I was excited to get over as soon as Paul (Wellens, coach) and Mike (Rush, chief executive) gave me a ring to say it was done, especially to a great club like St Helens. I’m looking forward to switching from the heat to the cold!

“To come to a club like St Helens where they’ve always been in the top four or top two, and then such a big thing winning four in a row, I’m hoping I can fit in, and we can win another one. Just looking at all the players that they have there, all the strike, I’m keen to get to work.

“We all know the quality of a player like Hopoate and it’s very special to me and to be able to get that jersey. I want to go out there, put my head down, and work hard. Hopefully, I can also come away with the shirt at the end of the year, but first things first, I’m just excited to get over there and start working.

“I’m hoping to come over and do you guys all proud and I’m looking forward to seeing you all. I can’t wait to hear all the cheers, and we will be trying to go all the way this year.”

Waqa Blake reveals chat with fellow Fijian and former Saints ace Kevin Naiqama about Super League

The Lautoka-born centre, who is also comfortable playing on the wing, says he is excited to test himself in England next season and even spoke to his Fijian team-mate and former St Helens man Kevin Naiqama, who currently plays for Huddersfield Giants, about Super League.

Blake added: “I think it’s getting better (Super League), I saw St Helens beat Penrith last year in the World Club Challenge, no one would have thought it. The quality of football is getting better and you can see that in the England side that played Tonga.

“I’ve played with Kevin Naiqama and he killed it at Saints, and I watched the Grand Final where he won man of the match.

“He told me a lot about Super League when we were in Fiji camp, how special it is over there, and that Saints are a great bunch of boys, so I’m looking forward to it.”

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