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Rhinos sign up Papua New Guinea hooker Aiton on three year deal

Leeds Rhinos have announced that they have signed Papua New Guinea hooker Paul Aiton, 28, from Super League rivals Wakefield Wildcats for an undisclosed fee.
Rhinos sign up Papua New Guinea hooker Aiton on three year deal
by rleague.com

Leeds Rhinos have announced that they have signed Papua New Guinea hooker Paul Aiton, 28, from Super League rivals Wakefield Wildcats for an undisclosed fee.

Aiton is set to lead Papua New Guinea in their crucial Rugby League World Cup clash with World Champions New Zealand at Headingley Carnegie this Friday, kick off 8pm.

The hooker was Wakefield's Player of the Year last season having arrived in Super League from NRL side Cronulla Sharks in 2012 and he joins the Rhinos on a three year contract. This is his second World Cup with Papua New Guinea and he also skippered the Kumuls in the Four Nations in 2010.

Commenting on the signing Leeds Rhinos Head Coach Brian McDermott said, "I am delighted that we have agreed the deal to bring Paul to Headingley Carnegie. He has a wealth of experience both from the NRL and here in Super League with Wakefield and is performing on the highest stage as captain of his country in the World Cup. The addition of international class players in Paul and Tom Briscoe along with the recruitment of young talent in Andy Yates from Hunslet and the retention of our young stars adds significantly to the group we had last season and bodes well for the 2014.”

Aiton is also pleased to have secured his future for next season and has now set his sights on a dream start to life at Headingley Carnegie by turning over the World Champions on Friday night. He added, "I am very happy to be joining the Rhinos. I would like to thank everyone connected with Wakefield for making me feel so welcome over the last two years and I am pleased that both clubs have come to an agreement that means I can join Leeds. You only need to look at how many of the Rhinos team are in the current England squad to see the quality that is here at the club and I am excited about the future.

"It is nice that we have been able to get the deal done ahead of Friday's game against the Kiwis. I hope the Leeds fans will be out in force on Friday night and they will give me and the Papua New Guinea boys all their support as we know we face a big challenge against New Zealand,” added Aiton.

Aiton could face his former team mates at Wakefield in his first game for Leeds Rhinos. Leeds have confirmed that they will play Wakefield in the traditional Heatshot Festive Challenge on Boxing Day at Headingley Carnegie, kick off 11.30am. Depending on Papua New Guinea's progress in the World Cup, the hooker could make his debut in that game.

Rhinos Chief Executive Gary Hetherington added, "We are delighted to have signed Paul and brought him to the club. Once we knew he was available, we have moved quickly to secure his signature and I am sure, just like his countryman Marcus Bai, he will become a firm fans favourite at the Rhinos.”

Tickets are on sale now from Headingley Carnegie for the game between New Zealand and Papua New Guinea or can be booked online 24 hours a day at www.rlwc2013.com/tickets The stadium will also host the World Cup Quarter Final on Friday 15th November and fans who purchase tickets for the Papua New Guinea game can take advantage of half price tickets for the Quarter Final clash as well, also likely to feature New Zealand. Fans will be able to pay at the turnstile on the night for ground entry, priced £15 for adults and £7.50 for concessions.




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