UNWANTED Knights prop Evarn Tuimavave will join a host of former Newcastle teammates at English Super League club Hull Kingston Rovers next season.
Not required by coach Wayne Bennett beyond this season, the off-contract former New Zealand Test front-rower has agreed to terms with the Robins, who are coached by former Knights assistant Craig Sandercock. Fullback Shannon McDonnell and back-rower Con Mika followed Sandercock from Newcastle to Hull KR this season, and the Robins have signed Cowboys and former Knights back-rower Cory Paterson for the next two years.
Tuimavave could not be contacted for comment last night, and the Knights’ policy is to not comment on retention or recruitment issues, but the Newcastle Herald was told yesterday that he had informed teammates of his decision in the past week.
The 28-year-old Kiwi international, who joined the Knights in 2010 after 105 NRL games at the New Zealand Warriors, confirmed the transfer on Twitter.
He was asked by @marklever2: ‘‘Are you on the way to the robins next year Evarn’’?
Tuimavave replied: ‘‘Yeah brother on my way over signed sealed delieverd haha ?? had to keep it quiet’’.
The Auckland-born prop played 10 games for the Knights in 2010 before suffering a ruptured Achilles tendon. He recovered from that season-ending injury to make 20 appearances last year.
Bennett left him out of the NRL squad for the opening rounds this season then called him up for games against the Dragons, Panthers and Cowboys in rounds seven, eight and 10.
Since then, Tuimavave has battled a nagging foot injury and been in and out of Newcastle’s NSW Cup side.
He is the fourth member of the Knights’ top 25 to find a new home for next season.
Fellow prop Richie Fa’aoso was released last month to join Melbourne for the rest of this year. He will join Manly on a two-year deal in 2013.
Former New Zealand Test back-rower Zeb Taia will head to France to play for Super League club Catalans Dragons at the end of the year, and outside back Wes Naiqama will be released from the final two years of his Knights contract to join Penrith on a two-year deal.
Hull released Knights prop Willie Mason last year just six games into a three-year deal.