Hull FC agree deal for latest overseas signing as club decide on hooking direction

-Credit: (Image: SW Pix)
-Credit: (Image: SW Pix)

Hull FC have agreed a deal to sign Papua New Guinean hooker Judah Rimbu. Hull Live exclusively reported on Thursday that the Black and Whites were weighing up a move for the dummy-half, with the understanding now that the 22-year-old is in pole position to become their latest new signing for 2025 and beyond.

Hull have long identified the hooker position as one of their key areas for their ongoing recruitment drive, with club legend Danny Houghton set to retire at the end of the season. The 35-year-old made his intentions clear in an interview with Hull Live last autumn, and the club is now taking the necessary steps to make sure they have some depth and quality in the position next year.

They have already signed Salford Red Devils hooker Amir Bourouh, with Rimbu identified as their second new hooking recruit. Morgan Smith is also contracted for next season, while young duo Denive Balmforth and Jeylan Hodgson are out of contract at the end of the year, with a call still to be made on both players.

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Rimbu, meanwhile, is currently playing for the PNG Hunters in the Queensland Cup, a competition that incoming head coach John Cartwright knows very well through his role as Brisbane Broncos assistant coach. The young PNG talent also made his Kumuls debut last autumn and played alongside Super League Dream Team hooker Edwin Ipape, featuring three times for the Pacific nation.

A key part of the Hunters side, Rimbu has played 58 games for the Queensland Cup outfit, scoring 11 tries, six of which have come this season. He is known as a running dummy half and scored a hat-trick of tries against Ipswich Jets earlier this year.

Rimbu also trained with NRL side the Dolphins, who are based in Brisbane, this pre-season, with the club confident that the PNG star is the man to take them forward next year after an extensive overseas search.

Obviously, a current quota player will have to be released to facilitate the hooker, with John Asiata signed for the 2025 season and beyond. As well as Asiata, the club also have Jed Cartwright, Treigh Stewart, Ligi Sao, Herman Ese’ese, Jayden Okunbor, and Franklin Pele signed up for next year. Carlos Tuimavave is the club’s only current out-of-contract quota player, with the centres deal expiring at the end of 2024.

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