FEATHERSTONE Rovers have confirmed two more signings for next season, but are releasing one of the players who helped them lift the Co-operative Championship in 2011.
Centre or winger Tangi Ropati is joining from Widnes Vikings and prop forward Nathan Freer arrives from York City Knights to boost the Rovers squad as they look to defend the crown won this year.
Ropati, 26, is a pacy back with one cap to his name for Samoa before he came over to England, initially with the Sheffield Eagles before moving to Widnes.
Freer, 22, was a Hull FC junior before spells with Doncaster and York. An imposing figure on the field, he has a fiery reputation and is being tipped to become a Featherstone favourite after they lost Tony Tonks and Iain Morrison to Huddersfield and Halifax at the end of last season.
Coach Daryl Powell is delighted to be able to announce the two new signings.
He told the Express: “I was really impressed with Nathan when he played against us for York. He’s got loads of potential and is still a young guy.
“He’s 22, he’s a smart player and he’s still got plenty of potential to grow physically. I’m confident that within our systems he’s going to be an outstanding player for us.
“I think Tangi lost his way a little bit at Widnes last year, but he was outstanding for Sheffield in the centres. Again within our team and the way that we play his physicality and pace is going to be invaluable.
“I think he helps give us a really deep looking squad and he adds some pace.
“There’s going to be loads of competition for places across all positions, which is what I’m really keen to have.”
Powell confirmed that hooker Kirk Netherton is leaving the club after just one season with Rovers.
He explained: “We’ll be releasing Kirk Netherton and he won’t be with us next year.
“I just feel that having signed Danny Grimshaw and having Andy Kain as an outstanding second hooker as well as his ability at stand-off I’m happy with the squad with the way it is.
“We’ve got some smart young players coming through at hooker as well so I’m pretty pleased with what we’ve got for next season in this position.”
Powell, meanwhile, has been on training duty in his role as assistant coach to Steve McNamara with England this week and is looking forward to the warm-up game against France before the Gillette Four Nations tournament gets under way.
He added: “England training is going well, the boys are looking pretty sharp.
“We’re just preparing for the France game on Friday night, which will give us a good look at the team and our structures and principles in place. I‘m enjoying working with the England boys.”
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