Wigan's George Williams joins Canberra in NRL; Hull confirm Manu Ma'u signing

George Williams
George Williams

Wigan have announced England stand-off George Williams is to become the latest Super League player to make the switch to the NRL.

The reigning champions say they have accepted an undisclosed fee for the 24-year-old Williams, who is expected to join his old Wigan team-mates John Bateman and Ryan Sutton at Canberra on a two-year contract from 2020.

Wigan will replace Williams with Salford's Australian half-back Jackson Hastings, who has agreed to join them as a marquee player from next year.

On a day on which the club made Adrian Lam their permanent head coach, the Warriors also announced the departure of centre Dan Sarginson, who is expected to join Salford.

As part of the release agreement, Wigan will have first refusal on Williams' services should he return to Super League once his time in the NRL has come to an end.

Wigan executive director Kris Radlinksi said: "George has developed into one of the world's finest half-backs and, although we are naturally disappointed to lose a home-grown player of his calibre, we wish him the best in his move to the NRL.

"I have no doubt he'll take that competition by storm."

Williams, who has made 172 appearances for his home-town club, said: "Firstly I want to say a massive thanks to everyone at Wigan Warriors for everything they have done for me.

"I've been at Wigan since I was 12 years old and I have managed to live my dream playing 170-plus games and winning two Grand Finals for my home-town club, along the way making some incredible memories and friends for life.

"Another dream of mine was always to play and to test myself in the NRL so I want to thank (chairman) Ian Lenagan and Kris Radlinski for their understanding in allowing me to do this."

Wigan have succeeded in landing Hastings, 23, at the second attempt.

He rejected their offer at the end of last season in favour of spending another year with Salford and was also on the wanted list by Leeds.

The former Sydney Roosters and Manly playmaker, who is second in the Steve Prescott Man of Steel rankings, has signed a two-year deal, which includes a get-out clause after 12 months which allows him to return to the NRL.

Radlinski said: "This a hugely significant signing. In Jackson Hastings, we have secured the services of one of the most sought-after talents in the game, having fought off interest from around Super League and in the NRL.

"Jackson has a burning desire to win things in England and that ultimately lead to him joining us and turning down bigger money elsewhere."

Hastings is Wigan's second recruit from Salford, following the signing of Jake Bibby, while Sarginson is set to make the reverse move.

Sarginson, 26, who began his Super League career with London Broncos, is in his second spell with the Warriors, having rejoined them from Gold Coast Titans in 2018.

Hull confirm Ma'u signing

Hull have signed Tonga international forward Manu Ma'u from Paramatta on a two-year deal.

The 30-year-old back rower, nicknamed the Tongan Terminator, won six caps for New Zealand before switching his allegiance and was in the Tonga team that lost 20-18 to England in the 2017 World Cup semi-final.

Hull coach Lee Radford said: "I'm really pleased to get such a quality signing in Manu over the line. To get that level of player in our competition, at the peak of his career is a real coup for the club.

"I've only heard good things about him on and off the field. I'm sure his no nonsense style of play will make him a firm fans-favourite when he arrives.

"Manu has a real toughness in his game which I really admire."

Ma'u is Hull's fourth recruit for 2020 after the capture of his Tonga team-mate Mahe Fonua and former Super League Grand Final winners Josh Jones and Adam Swift.

Ma'u said: "I've read so much about Super League and about Hull FC itself, particularly about the passionate fans over there so I can't wait to make the move.

"I'm at a stage now where I want to challenge myself overseas and move out of my comfort zone. Hull have given me that chance."

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