NORTH Queensland Cowboys back-rower Cory Paterson will join a growing list of former Knights players at English Super League club Hull Kingston Rovers next season.
The Cowboys have agreed to release the 24-year-old three-time Indigenous All Star from the final year of his contract, and he will leave the Townsville-based club at the end of the season.
Paterson, who was released by the Knights midway through last season to join the Cowboys, has struggled to secure a regular spot in coach Neil Henry’s pack.
After seven games for the Cowboys last year he has played just three this season, but in the absence of their Origin players, he has been named on the bench to play against the Warriors in Auckland on Sunday.
Paterson will join former Knights teammates Con Mika and Shannon McDonnell at the Robins, who are coached by former Knights assistant coach Craig Sandercock.
‘‘I’m really excited about my move to Hull KR,’’ Paterson told the club’s website.
‘‘I’ve been following the club for a while since Sandy [Sandercock] and a couple of my old teammates, Con Mika and Shannon McDonnell, went there.
‘‘I rate Sandy very highly, not just as a coach, but because he’s also a great bloke who I know will help me both as a footballer and a person.
‘‘I’m lucky – I’ve got a British passport and playing in the Super League was always something I wanted to do, so when the chance came up to play for Hull Kingston Rovers, I couldn’t resist.
‘‘The timing is right for me and my young family to make the move.
‘‘We’re all keen to get over there and experience a different lifestyle and culture and for me to play some good footy.’’
Paterson later tweeted: ‘‘Just wanna thank everyone for there wishes on my signing will Hull KR. Wanna thank the cowboys for the last 12 months it’s been great.
‘‘Also wanna say big thanks to the @NRLKnights for giving me my debut and some gr8 yrs there. Can’t wait to become a robin n rip in.’’
Sandercock was excited about the prospect of coaching Paterson again.
‘‘Cory is a great acquisition for Rovers and is a young player who has already achieved a lot in the game at a young age,’’ Sandercock said. ‘‘He brings all the qualities on and off the field that we are looking for.’’
Meanwhile, the Knights have confirmed they have released prop Richie Fa’aoso from the rest of his contract so he can play out the season with Melbourne.
The Newcastle Herald revealed yesterday that Fa’aoso was bound for the Storm, having reported on June 15 that he was considering offers to leave the Knights before Saturday’s transfer deadline because the club did not want to re-sign him.
Fa’aoso is still contemplating his future beyond this year but is understood to be considering a two-year offer to join Manly from next season.
The Storm have a bye this weekend, but the 28-year-old Tongan international is expected to clock on at training today and will be available for selection for their next game, against Canberra at AAMI Park on July 7.
‘‘An opportunity came up to add some depth to our forward stocks as we come into the important final stage of the season,” Storm football operations manager Frank Ponissi said yesterday.