Former Tongan international prop signs with Tigers

Richie Fa'aoso offloads during his days with Manly. Wingham Tigers hope to sign him for this season's Group Three Rugby League competition. Photo Brendan Esposito.
Richie Fa'aoso offloads during his days with Manly. Wingham Tigers hope to sign him for this season's Group Three Rugby League competition. Photo Brendan Esposito.

WINGHAM Tigers hope former Tongan international prop Richie Faʻaoso will get a clearance to link for the club in this season’s Group Three Rugby League competition.

In a lengthy career, Fa’aoso played with Penrith, Sydney Roosters, Parramatta, Newcastle, Melbourne, Manly before finishing up with Parramatta. He played his last game in 2015. 

He has been cleared by the Eels to go to Wingham and he also has a medical clearance to resume playing. Fa’aoso suffered a broken neck playing with Manly in 2013 and announced his retirement soon after, before signing with the Eels in 2014. In all the 33-year-old chalked up 186 NRL appearances and four tests for Tonga.

Wingham have lodged the clearances with the Country Rugby League.

“It’s up to the them now,’’ Wingham captain-coach Danny Russell said.

“We have his clearance and his medial clearance, but the CRL’s insurance people might think he’s too big a risk.’’

Russell played with Fa’aoso during his time at Penrith and this was the catalyst for him signing with the Tigers.

Fa’aoso won’t start in Wingham’s opening game of the season on Sunday against Forster-Tuncurry at the Wingham Sporting Complex, regardless of whether he is given the green light to resume his career. 

And Russell added that the big front rower won’t be available every game.

“He lives in the Newcastle area and works away on the railway,’’ Russell explained.

“When he’s not working, we’ll have him. It’s the same with Joel Kleindienst.’’

Russell was quick to add Fa’aoso will be an invaluable addition to the Tiger pack when and if he does take the field.

While there’s some doubt about Fa’aoso, the Tigers will definitely start one newcomer against the Hawks. Welshman Danny Price, a halfback, arrived in Wingham this week and trained with Wingham on Tuesday evening.

This will also be Russell’s first competition match with the club after he played his previous football in Group Three with Old Bar. Usually a halfback, Russell said he isn’t sure where what position he’ll fill this weekend.

“I’ll decide at the end of the week,’’ he said.