Wakefield Trinity lock in former NRL ace and snap up France international from fellow Championship big-hitters

Ben Olawumi
Renouf Atoni, Mathieu Cozza (far right)

Renouf Atoni and Mathieu Cozza (far right) are the latest pair confirmed for the Wakefield Trinity pack in 2024 - Alamy

Wakefield Trinity have confirmed that Renouf Atoni has penned a new two-year deal at Belle Vue, while fellow forward Mathieu Cozza makes the move from Featherstone Rovers ahead of 2024 on the same terms.

Powerful prop Atoni joined Trinity from NRL outfit Sydney Roosters ahead of 2023 on a 12-month contract with the option of a further year in the club’s favour.

He hadn’t made an appearance last term for the Roosters, but had 43 to his name for Canterbury Bulldogs, whom he debuted for down under in 2018.

The 22-year-old went on feature 22 times for Trinity in his first year in West Yorkshire, scoring his only try to date as they beat eventual Super League champions Wigan Warriors 27-26 back in July.

And despite relegation to the Championship, he’s going to be sticking around at Belle Vue having signed a contract running until the end of 2025.

Wakefield Trinity tie down former NRL ace Renouf Atoni

New Wakefield head coach Daryl Powell praised Atoni, saying: “Renouf finished the season in a really positive way in ’23. He is a big powerful player who has the best years of his career ahead of him.

“He’s a dynamic ball carrier who will really punish defences over the next couple of years. I am delighted to tie him down, and I’m looking forward to helping him grow his game to reach his full potential.”

Veteran coach Powell – appointed earlier this week following the completion of a takeover by local businessman Matt Ellis – is already building his squad for 2024, with Liam Hood the first to put pen to paper on a new deal.

Another experienced head in Iain Thornley was then added, joining having been crowned a Super League champion with Wigan, while Josh Bowden has also re-signed for next season.

France international Mathieu Cozza snapped up by Trinity

In addition to those listed above, and ex-NRL man Atoni, Trinity also confirmed the addition of French international Cozza from Featherstone last night.

The forward – able to play as a prop and at loose – scored four tries in 22 appearances in the season just gone as the Rovers missed out on promotion with defeat to London Broncos in the play-offs.

At 23, he also has Super League experience having started out with Catalans Dragons, making 10 appearances for the Perpignan outfit as well as three on loan in the second tier with Barrow Raiders in 2022.

Earlier this year, Cozza – who had represented France B previously – made his senior international debut, featuring in England’s 64-0 mid-season win against ‘Les Blues’ at the Halliwell Jones Stadium.

The versatile forward said: “‘I am delighted to sign for Wakefield and be part of this new project. After meeting Daryl and Steve (Mills, Recruitment and Salary Cap Manager), it was very clear that the club is going places and I wanted to be part of this.

“I am looking forward to meeting all the players when I arrive back from France and can’t wait to meet the fans on game day next year.”

Meanwhile, Powell added: “I’ve been really impressed with Mathieu this season at Featherstone. He’s a player who works exceptionally hard and does all the little things you expect from the middle unit player.

“He’s tough and aggressive and will fit perfectly into the forward pack we want to build next season.”

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