Widnes have signed New Zealand Warriors centre Anthony Gelling on a two-year deal from the 2019 season.
The 27-year-old has been plying his trade in the NRL with the Warriors this season, scoring two tries in five appearances.
Gelling spent six years at Wigan Warriors between 2012 and 2017, where he scored 52 tries in 115 games. He won two Grand Finals, a Challenge Cup Final and a World Club Challenge in his time at Wigan.
The Cook Islands international is over the moon to sign for the Vikings.
He said: “I’m delighted to be joining Widnes Vikings.
“Looking at the talent at the club, their players who have re-signed, and the young lads who are coming through, I believe that the Vikings have real potential for the seasons ahead.
“Before signing this deal, I spoke in length to [chief executive] James Rule. He shared the club’s vision for the coming seasons and I’m very excited to have the opportunity to be part of this.
“Widnes Vikings have had a tough season this year, but I know that we can turn this around. I am looking forward to linking up with the boys next year in 2019 and to making a difference to the side.
“I know from experience that the Vikings have brilliant supporters and I can’t wait to get out in front of them next year. I’m grateful to everyone continues to get behind the boys this year and look forward to wearing black and white next season.”
Vikings interim coach Francis Cummins thinks the signing of Gelling is a big coup for the club.
He said: “Anthony is a tremendous signing for the club.
“We’ve been working really hard to find a calibre of player who will enhance our team, and I believe that Anthony is that type of player. Anthony has been one of our top targets, as we have planned for next season, and James Rule has been in regular conversation with him over the past couple of months to help make this deal happen.
“Anthony has an ‘X Factor’ about him, with the ability to produce something out of nothing in a way that few others in the modern game can replicate. Players of his quality are few and far between, and we are excited that he will be representing our club.
“Clearly Widnes Vikings have experienced challenges this season, but we are planning for a brighter future. This team has genuine potential for the seasons ahead and having had opportunity to sign for several other leading clubs, it is satisfying to know that Anthony strongly believes in what we are building here.
“A signing like this sends a message out on many levels, and tells everybody that we’re not willing to accept the current situation we’re in. We will be looking to bring further quality into the team for the coming season, and key to this is the ongoing backing and investment of our Members and supporters. As a club, both on and off the field, we are stronger for their support, so thank you to everyone who is giving their continued backing to the team.”