FANS’ favourite Sia Soliola was an influential figure in persuading man mountain Mose Masoe to sign for Saints next season on a two-year deal.
The 6ft 4ins 18st Penrith Panthers powerhouse prop, known as ‘The Smiling Assassin,’ revealed this week that his fellow Kiwi had ‘sold’ Saints to him and now he was counting down the days to an exhilarating challenge which awaits him on the other side of the world.
Masoe, who like Soliola is from Samoan stock, said: “I have spoken to Sia a couple of times since he joined Saints in 2010 and he tells me he loves it there and what a great club it is.
“I couldn’t have received a better recommendation and I’m excited at the prospect of joining one of the biggest clubs in England.”
The 24-year-old, who can also play in the second row or at lock and will be moving to Langtree Park with Penrith team-mate Luke Walsh, also revealed that in different circumstances he could have been bound for the UK last year.
He explained: ‘’As a family, we have always wanted to travel the world and this is a great opportunity for us to do so.
“We had the chance to come last year but my partner was pregnant at the time so we postponed our plans.
“Now we have a baby we feel it is a good time to come to England.
“It will also help me settle in by having the likes of Luke and Sio besides me.”
Masoe also revealed he is excited at the prospect of playing in Saints powerkeg derbies against Wigan and Warrington.
He said: “St Helens is one of the best clubs in Super League and I was stoked when I was approached by them. It was great that such a strong team would want me to play for them.
“I know a couple of players who have played there and that talk highly about the team and coach so I am excited to come over.
“I had another year to run on my contract but I was excited when I got the offer and my manager said Nathan Brown wanted me to play for them.
“I’m looking forward to playing in the Challenge Cup and the big games like Wigan.
“I love those rivalries and the passion that comes from the fans.
“The Roosters versus the Souths, Penrith-Parramatta those teams hate each other and that gives an extra five to ten per cent in the game.
“I like to run and tackle hard. It will be good to measure up against some of the best players in the world.”
He also told how he expects fellow Penrith Panther Luke Walsh to thrive in Super League.
“I have been playing with Walshie this year so there is a combination there,” he said.
“When I come to St Helens I will know what kind of plays he does and it will be good to see how we gel as a team. He’s a little general on the pitch and will boss his players around.”
Saints’ head coach Nathan Brown, said: “Mose is a big forward and will add a great deal of size to our pack.
“He is also young and still developing and will complement the squad.
“We are delighted to secure his services and grateful to Penrith for releasing him early from his current contract.”
Wellington-born Masoe joined the Panthers from Soliola’s previous club, Sydney Roosters, at the start of the present season and while still making his way in the game possesses bags of potential.
Lining up alongside the likes of the ever-improving Alex Walmsley and other up-and-coming players next season is an exciting prospect.