Former St Helens prop Mose Masoe is returning to England after signing a short-term contract with promotion-chasing Hull KR.
The 28-year-old 6ft 6in, 20st Samoa international impressed during a two-year spell in Super League before returning to the NRL with St George Illawarra and is now hoping to help the Robins regain their place in the top flight.
Masoe, who has signed a contract to the end of the season with an option for 2018, is waiting for a visa but Rovers hope he will arrive in time for their opening match of the Super 8s Qualifiers next month.
Hull KR coach Tim Sheens said: “Mose will add a different element to our pack. He’s got plenty of experience in the NRL and Super League and the fact that he has played over here before is a real bonus. He knows what to expect and will be able to hit the ground running.
“He’s been playing regularly back in Australia and physically he’s in great shape. Mose is excited about coming on board and playing a part in what we’re trying to achieve, and we’re excited about working with him.”
Masoe, who made 63 first-grade appearances for Sydney Roosters and Penrith Panthers before helping St Helens win the 2014 Grand Final, said: “Hull KR have given me an opportunity to come to the club at an exciting time.
“They’re trying to make it back up and rebuild for next year and I want to come over there and try to help them get back to Super League, which is where the club should be.
“Me and my partner and our kids loved our time over there in the UK before. We would have stayed but I always wanted to go back to the NRL and give it another shot and St George gave me an opportunity to do that. We’ve now decided the time is right to come back and I can’t wait to get started at Rovers.”
The Dragons agreed to release Masoe, who has played for their reserve-grade side Illawarra in 2017 after his first season with the club was cut short by a major knee injury.
“Mose needs to get a visa but there’s also a certain amount of games he must play and different criteria related to playing football in England,” said Dragons recruitment boss Ian Millward, the former Wigan and St Helens coach.
“Mose’s injury last year meant he hasn’t been in a position to accumulate the games required - meaning if he doesn’t leave now then he won’t be able to qualify to play in the UK in 2018.
“He came and asked for an immediate release on compassionate grounds due to the offer in England, which would present him the opportunity to secure a contract for his family long-term.”
St George Illawarra also granted a request from loose forward Tyrone McCarthy to enable him to join Salford and Millward said winger Kalifa Faifai Loa, 26, has requested a release from his contract in order to negotiate a move to Super League.
“If he finds another club then he will leave in the coming weeks,” Millward said.