Former St Helens centre Kevin Naiqama has shelved his retirement plans to take up a contract with NRL side Sydney Roosters for 2022.
The 32-year-old said it was ‘likely’ he would retire in the aftermath of his two-try man of the match display in Saints’ 12-10 win over Catalans Dragons at Old Trafford in October.
Naiqama made the decision to leave champions St Helens so he could return home to Australia. He has now linked up with the Roosters for pre-season training ahead of the 2022 NRL season.
Sydney Roosters confirm Kevin Naiqama signing
A Roosters statement read: “The Sydney Roosters are pleased to announce the signing of Fiji captain and three-time Super League champion Kevin Naiqama for season 2022.
“Naiqama adds plenty of versatility and experience to the Sydney Roosters backline; able to play in the centres, on the wing and at full-back, having done so at club and international level.”
The Fiji captain enjoyed a successful spell in Super League. He won three Super League titles in as many years with the Saints. He also won the Challenge Cup in 2021 as Kristian Woolf’s side did the double.
Naiqama made 113 NRL appearances before his move to Saints in 2019. He previously played for Newcastle Knights, Penrith Panthers and Wests Tigers.
The centre, who can also play wing or full-back, scored 33 tries in 65 games for Saints, where he was a fan favourite. Naiqama was also named in the Super League Dream Team in his first season in England in 2019.
Naiqama has won 19 caps for Fiji on the international scene, playing in two World Cups. He also represented Fiji in the Nines World Cup in Sydney in 2019.
His decision to carry on playing in 2022 means that he will be able to lead Fiji in the World Cup next year, which is staged in England.