Super League: Bradford Bulls' Manase Manuokafoa signs for Widnes Vikings
Last Updated: 24/07/14 9:16am
Front-row Manase Manuokafoa will play for Widnes Vikings as of next season following Bradford Bull’s relegation from the Super League.
The Bulls were relegated to the Championship for the first time in their history last weekend, left 13 points adrift of safety after 21 games with defeat to Huddersfield.
Coach James Lowes branded their Super League exit a "disgrace" following a severe financial crisis that saw the club deducted six points for entering administration and the players often left uncertain whether they would be paid.
I'll leave Bradford with some good memories and I've had a good three years there, but you have to move on. This is a new chapter for me at Widnes.
Tongan forward Manuokafoa, 29, becomes the first person to leave after signing a two-year deal with Widnes.
“With the situation as it is at Bradford, I needed to get my future sorted and I wanted security for my family,” Manuokafoa said.
“I'll leave Bradford with some good memories and I've had a good three years there, but you have to move on. This is a new chapter for me at Widnes.
Over the moon
“I'm over the moon to be joining them and enhancing the club's good name. For a front-rower I'm heading into my peak and I want to better myself and improve.”
Widnes, who are only in their third season as a Super League team, are enjoying a good season and currently sit in the top eight.
Coach Denis Betts is delighted with signing Manuokafoa, having tried unsuccessfully to land the forward during Bradford's previous financial crisis.
Betts said: “We have been looking at him for a while now and I almost signed him a few years ago when the Bulls were in administration the first time.
“We were after something different in a front-rower and he's a big man, has good footwork, he can hit hard and he ticks all the boxes we were looking for on the playing side of things.
“But first and foremost we are getting a great character, a hard worker and he wants to improve and that is only going to enhance our playing staff and squad.”