Wakefield Trinity have become one of the first clubs to make the most of a quota rule change by swooping for Isaiah Vagana, son of former Bradford Bulls prop Joe, a Super League icon.
Vagana senior played more than 200 games for Bradford in their glory era between 2001 and 2008, winning three Super League titles in the process.
Now, 23-year-old prop or back-rower Vagana heads to Belle Vue on a two-year deal from the New Zealand Warriors‘ NSW Cup side, after a recent amendment to visa requirements made it easier for clubs to bring over players from the Australian lower grades.
Previously, any signings from overseas would have had to have played more than 50% of games in the NRL or made regular international appearances. Now however, players aged 24 or below will be able to come to the UK if they have featured in 75% of games at NSW or Queensland Cup level during the previous season.
Wakefield Trinity snap up Super League icon Joe Vagana’s son, Isaiah, as recruitment tally ticks up to 11
Ahead of the announcement of his signing, Wakefield head coach Daryl Powell had hinted that the club would turn to overseas recruitment following the change.
He told The Yorkshire Post: “There’s potentially an ability to bring some players in that didn’t qualify before.
“We’ve had another look at the market. We want to get it right, so if we bring anyone in, we’ve got to be certain that they’ll take us into Super League.
“We’re constantly looking to evolve our squad over the next few years, but that change of the rules has opened up an avenue for us to explore.”
Although the changes widen the overseas player pool available to clubs, they are still restricted by the number of quota spots they are allowed to fill.
Isaiah Vagana speaks as a Wakefield player for the first time
Vagana, who becomes Trinity‘s 11th new recruit ahead of the upcoming season, spoke for the first time as a Wakefield player on the club’s social media channels.
Isaiah Vagana’s ready to make his mark in the competition! Watch his message to the fans as he gears up to start his journey with Trinity and help take us back to the top!#VaganaJoinsTrinity #NewBeginnings 🔴⚪🔵 pic.twitter.com/fo8Beez4ck
— Wakefield Trinity (@WTrinityRL) January 11, 2024
In a video message, he said: “I’m looking forward to coming over and starting my journey with Wakefield Trinity.
“I’m keen and I’m excited. I’m ready to put my best foot forward, make a mark on the competition, and help the club get back to where they belong. I’m keen to get around the boys and rip in, bring on the 2024 season.”
The youngster made 24 appearances for the Warriors last season as they finished third in the NSW Cup, and was on the fringes of making his NRL debut.