Inside Hull FC's John Asiata deal as Richie Myler explains recruitment direction

If any indication could be given to the magnitude of Hull FC signing John Asiata, then Richie Myler has nailed it. "His worth to the club is much more than just him as a player," the new Director of Rugby stated in his first media briefing since joining the Black and Whites last month.

Agreeing a three-year deal from 2025, Myler believes Hull have much more than a loose-forward. They have a leader, someone who conducts himself in impeccable fashion and does things the right way, both on and off the pitch.

He's someone who commands respect, someone people listen to, respect, and try to imitate. For good measure, he's also a Challenge Cup winner and a reigning Super League Dream Team star.

For Myler, there was no doubt that Asiata was his man to build around, and even more so after a conversation with another recent signing: Tom Briscoe. Of course, the winger played with the forward at Leigh, and his endorsement was the final piece of reassurance Myler needed to get the deal done.

"I had heard a lot of good things about John," Myler told Hull Live. "I played against him, but from speaking to a lot of people I trust, Tom Briscoe being one, and understanding his actual role, it became clear he was the right fit for us.

"It's hard to know exactly what that role is on the outside when you're looking in. We know he's a leader, and I've heard a lot about how he controls an organisation and how he helps people be better people, but after speaking to Tommy, he sold the whole thing to me about how good he actually is.

"I think John epitomises what we want to achieve as a club and what we want to stand for. He's also a very, very good rugby league player. We get the best of both worlds here. He's a true champion who wants to compete hard. He's been through a process with Leigh where they changed their identity from being a Championship team, and he's gone on that journey with them to win a Challenge Cup final.

"My conversation with him was about that, that we are in a process now—albeit a Grade A license Super League team—but we are coming up short in some areas, and we need a leader in that dressing room who gets that it's not going to be easy, and I've said that to everybody that I've spoken to and to a lot of recruits that we're looking at—that this is not a quick or overnight fix.

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"However, putting John Asiata in that team will have a massive effect on what we want to build over the next five, six, or seven years. The way that those young players will respond to having him in that dressing room and in that environment will be invaluable to us as a club.

"A lot has been said about his price tag and how much we've invested in him, but we're not just investing in a player that's on the field; we're investing in everything he stands for off it. That, for me, is worth all of the money."

And as exclusively reported by Hull Live last Friday, that money is understood to be £220,000 per season. It's marquee money, but it's money that Myler, who is counting on Asiata's impact across Hull's young squad, believes is well spent.

It's also a move that brings credibility to what Hull are trying to do. They are ambitious, but this shows that they are serious. The big question now is: what comes next?

"We're speaking to people all of the time but we only want people coming into this environment who want to add to it," Myler explained. "People who are going to have a positive impact, whether that be competing hard, whether they're a great person, or whatever that role is, it's vital that it's right.

"I have my own philosophy on how I see the game and how I played it. That identity has got to be a vision for the club. That's not one man's job. That's got to be an identity that we all buy into. There has got to be understanding throughout.

"We can't just go and pick the best players from everywhere that don't fit our system. We need to find out what we stand for and how we want to recruit and develop people. That's vital to our strategy for how we go forward. That's not a quick process. That's over time, and that process has to be right. Going forward, we've got to look at our recruitment and how we want to build as a club."

Myler has already come up with a plan on how he wants to recruit for the next couple of years, with experience being the vital component for the ongoing cycle, which is actively in effect now as the club looks to sign players both immediately and for next year and beyond to complement what they are bringing through.

"We have a process for years one, two, and three, and we don't want to be late to the party," Myler added. "There are some moveable parts on the market now, and while there's not a great deal, we are looking for now and next year. I've been vocal about the fact that we need some experienced players in there to add to what we've got. We need players who compete hard, train hard, and are consistent on the field. Anyone coming into this group has to add to us.

"We’re in conversation with six or seven that we’re confident can come in and do that. We’ve got lots of scope to bring in new players. We need more experience throughout. That’s clear. We've also got to be mindful that we have a lot of good, young players at this club, and their pathways to develop and come through cannot be blocked.

"We've got a couple of good centres coming through; we've got Jack Charles in there as a young half, and we've got to be mindful of them and keep their path clear so they can develop and be Hull FC players for a long time. It's getting that balance right. That's the challenge."

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