HUDDERSRFIELD GIANTS prop Sebastine Ikahihifo is confident of rediscovering his “best” form after joining Super League Grand Finalists Salford Red Devils on a season-long loan.
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The powerful Aucklander, 28, fell down the pecking order with the West Yorkshire club last season making just 18 appearances.
However, he was in the Super League Dream Team in 2017 and hopes a change of scene will revitalise his game.
Ikahihifo said: “I’m looking forward to coming into a new environment. Speaking to Ian Watson, I know he values culture and a team bond.
“I know he’s brought a lot out of players like Tui (Lolohea) and (Krisnan) Inu, and I’m determined to work hard, so I’m sure I can get back to my best form.
“I’m looking forward to getting a full pre-season and getting my fitness back to its best.
“(Salford’s former Huddersfield conditioner) Greg Brown has a good reputation, so it will be good to work with him ahead of 2020.”
Huddersfield coach Simon Woolford has signed Samoa front-row James Gavet from Newcastle Knights for next season and also bought teenage prop Oliver Wilson from Bradford Bulls earlier this year.
Ikahihifo's contract at Giants runs until the end of 2021 and managing director Richard Thewlis says the move does not necessarily spell the end of his career at the club, for whom he has played 76 times since joining from New Zealand Warriors ahead of 2016.
"The arrangement is only for a year and both Sebastine and ourselves hope that a fresh start can reignite him to the form that took him into the 2017 Dream Team," Thewlis continued.
"He is a fans favourite here and am sure will soon established himself as such at Salford and it is another step for us in putting together the 2020 squad that has been planned by Simon and his team."
Ikahihifo’s arrival adds to head coach Watson’s options in the Red Devils pack, following the signings of Ryan Lannon, Luke Yates, Pauli Pauli and James Greenwood.
Watson said: “Seb’s a great addition to our squad and will make our pack even more formidable this season, working alongside the likes of (Lee) Mossop, (Gil) Dudson and (Pauli) Pauli.
“He’s a player who I’ve been chasing for a number of seasons. His power and pace has always impressed when playing for the Giants.
“Your pack have to have an attitude to work hard defensively and take tough carries and Seb certainly enjoys that side of the game.
“He’s an an awesome bloke off the field, who’s keen to come into our environment, so I know Seb and his family will enjoy their time at Salford.”
“Seb will be a tremendous asset for the club and a player I, like many of the supporters I am sure, can’t wait to see in a Red Devils jersey in 2020.”