Veteran Minichiello swaps NRL for chance at Hull FC

HULL FC have signed vastly-experienced Australian second-row Mark Minichiello from Gold Coast Titans on a two-year deal.

The Italian international, 32, will move to East Yorkshire at the end of this season having racked up almost 300 games in the NRL.

His capture continues some astute recruitment from head coach Lee Radford on the back of deals for Marc Sneyd, the in-form Castleford Tigers stand-off, and experienced ex-Great Britain utility back Leon Pryce.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Minichiello – the younger brother of legendary full-back Anthony – started his first-grade career with Sydney Roosters in 2002 before a successful switch to South Sydney.

He joined Gold Coast in their inaugural season of 2007 and, with 160 games, has gone on to make more appearances than any other player for the Queensland outfit, scoring 61 tries in the process and earning City Origin honours.

Minichiello, of course, played for Italy in last year’s World Cup here in the UK, but admitted it was a major decision to make the move to the KC Stadium.

“It was a big decision; I have been in the NRL for 13 seasons now and have played over 250 games here,” he said.

“But I think it was maybe just the right time for me to make the change and I guess accept a new challenge.

“I am really looking forward to it, I can’t wait to get over there and experience a different comp’.

“I have always had dreams of playing in the Super League, and when this deal and opportunity came about, I just thought it was the right time to jump in and experience something new.”

Minichiello, who will link up with his old NRL adversary Gareth Ellis in the Airlie Birds’ second-row, added: “Hull is a club with a long history.

“It is one of the bigger clubs over there and from what I hear the fans are very passionate about rugby league; they have a good culture for rugby.”

Radford has been has been seeking added experience for 2015, as well as a replacement second-row after Chris Tuson announced his enforced retirement due to injury recently.

He said: “Mark brings vast experience to the club, not just in terms of his ability and game sense on the field, but a wealth of knowledge and the right way to conduct yourself off it.”