Toronto Wolfpack lure former NRL star Reni Maitua out of retirement
'I wasn't going to pass up the opportunity'
The Toronto Wolfpack have lured former Australia and Samoa rugby league international forward Reni Maitua out of retirement.
OVERWHELMED by the support within the RL family both by <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Leigh?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Leigh</a> and <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/fev?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#fev</a> supporters❤️🙏🏽both great clubs!! <a href="https://twitter.com/TOwolfpack?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@TOwolfpack</a> THANKYOU for this opportunity! Honestly, didn’t think Id EVER play again.The playing group,staff and vision of this venture, made this decision a no brainer 🐺 <a href="https://t.co/eiVQdgoPrL">https://t.co/eiVQdgoPrL</a>—@renimaitua
The 35-year-old left Leigh Centurions of the English Championship at the end of 2016 to take up a career in boxing. Maitua played more than 150 games in Australia's National Rugby League with the Canterbury Bulldogs, Cronulla Sharks and Parramatta Eels, where he served as captain.
He also played for Featherstone Rovers and Salford Red Devils in England.
"Having originally signed him at Leigh, I'm very happy to bring him in," Wolfpack coach Paul Rowley said in a statement. "There's no pressure on Reni, he comes into a strong squad and with him it just gets that little bit stronger.
"We believe a stint with the Wolfpack gives him the perfect amount of time to develop that fire in his belly and I know he can't wait to get started."
'I felt surprise and shock'
Maitua said the offer to return to rugby league was unexpected.
"I felt surprise and shock when Paul reached out to me," he said in a team statement. "I asked for 24 hours to think about it but after talking to my family and friends I wasn't going to pass up the opportunity."
The Wolfpack (2-0-1) currently stand second to the London Broncos (3-0-0) in the second-tier Betfred Championship. The Broncos host Toronto on Sunday at the Trailfinders Sports Club.