Toronto Wolfpack are delighted to announce a further addition to their playing squad, with the signing of seasoned veteran Reni Maitua.
The 35 year old joins the Wolfpack to add depth and experience to Toronto’s forward pack. He is set to reignite his rugby league career, having retired from Championship rivals Leigh Centurions at the end of 2016 to take up a career in boxing.
They don’t come with a more packed resume in the game than Maitua. After debuting in 2004 for Canterbury Bulldogs, the former Australia and Samoa international has over 150 NRL appearances under his belt. He has won an NRL premiership, captained Parramatta at NRL level and boasts experience in both Super League and the Championship; make him a well rounded addition to the Wolfpack roster.
Toronto Wolfpack Head Coach Paul Rowley was delighted to welcome on board an important signing of undoubted experience and class for the second time in his coaching career. He said:
“We’ve brought in Reni Maitua out of retirement and we believe he can be a great addition to the squad. Having originally signed him at Leigh, I’m very happy to bring him in. 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.”
Rowley was excited about what qualities Maitua would naturally bring on the field but was just as positive about the influence he would have on the club off it. He continued:
“He can fill a number of positions and he’s a smart footballer, people will benefit from his presence around the club.
“He has a wealth of experience in the game and he’s played for Australia which will put us in a good place both on and off the field.”
“He’s very well respected in Australia and he can play rugby. He’s been retired for twelve months but he’s not being doing nothing, he’s just had his first professional boxing fight so we’ve got him at a time where he is ready to peak physically so I can’t wait to get him over here.
“He’s a great bloke as well so he’s going to be a very welcome and popular addition and we’re looking forward to him getting here.”
Maitua himself admitted the opportunity to join the Wolfpack had come out of the blue, but was no less excited at the opportunity to come back to the sport where he made his name. He said:
“I felt surprise and shock when Paul (Rowley) reached out to me. 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.”
After being out of the game for a year, the biggest challenge facing one of rugby league’s most well known names is getting himself physically ready for the rigours of a fierce contact sport, but Maitua was confident it would not take him long to catch up. He added:
“I’ve just finished an eight week camp and made my professional boxing career debut so I have a different base of fitness.
“I have been retired for over a year but I always wondered if I retired prematurely. I’m currently seven kilos lighter than when I retired in 2016, purely because of boxing and I hope to play a role both on and off the field for this new venture.
“Regardless of my age, I have a lot of dog fight still in me and I can’t wait to meet my team mates and finish what Paul Rowley had started back in 2016.”