NRL: Warriors sign Hoffman to three-year deal

By Michael Brown

Ryan Hoffman. Photo / Getty Images
Ryan Hoffman. Photo / Getty Images

The Warriors have announced the signing of former Australian second-rower Ryan Hoffman to a three-year deal.

The 30-year-old had an offer to stay with Melbourne but was said to have fielded a more lucrative offer from the Warriors and will head to Mt Smart Stadium in 2015.

He has played in four of the Storm's five grand finals in the last eight seasons - 2006, 2007, 2009 and 2012 - missing the fifth in 2008 through injury.

It is the first major new signing for the Warriors but they are also keen on luring Kiwis hooker Issac Luke and former Kiwis centre Steve Matai. Luke is contracted to the Rabbitohs until the end of 2015 but told the Herald on Sunday it would be "great to come home" and play for the Warriors at some stage.

Hoffman found the Warriors' offer too good to refuse.

"I couldn't be happier with the chance to move to Auckland next year," said Hoffman.

"I've had a terrific time with Melbourne and obviously I still have a long way to go before I finish here. That's the immediate focus for me. I want to finish well because this club has done so much for me.

"But along with my family, I'm excited about coming to the Warriors. I've been really impressed with the club and the way they have gone about the process."

Melbourne announced yesterday they had re-signed Tohu Harris until the end of 2017 and they are also keen on keeping fellow second-rower and fellow Kiwi Kevin Proctor which is clouding the picture.

Hoffman has played 229 NRL games for the Storm and also had a stint with Wigan in the UK Super League in 2011 when he played alongside new Warriors fullback Sam Tomkins. He's also turned out eight times for NSW and has played five tests for Australia, the last in 2012.

"I never need reminding about how good the Warriors are," Hoffman said.

"I've played in enough Melbourne sides when we've finished on the wrong side including just a couple of weeks ago in our Anzac Day match.

"They're such a tough side to play against and I really look forward to being part of the club once I get there. I've been fortunate to play in four grand finals so far with the Storm and I'm determined to experience more with the Warriors."

He's a hard-working and intelligent second-rower and his leadership and experience would be valuable additions to a side learning how to win games under interim coach Andrew McFadden. He's a similar player to former Warriors back-rower Micheal Luck, who they have struggled to replace since his retirement in 2012.

The Warriors have money to spend after Kevin Locke announced he's shifting to Salford at the end of the season, although the club recently re-signed the likes of Simon Mannering, Jacob Lillyman and Shaun Johnson to upgraded new deals.

Centre and hooker remain the key targets and a decision is still to be made around veteran dummy-half Nathan Friend who is off contract at the end of the season. Luke's capture would signal the end of his Warriors career.

Warriors acting head coach Andrew McFadden and Hoffman were briefly team-mates at the Storm in 2003 and 2004 as McFadden was ending his playing career and Hoffman was starting his.

"I saw Ryan when he was just coming into the game and he really stood out as a player who would go a long way," said McFadden.

"He's a great professional who has performed exceptionally at the highest levels in the game and on big occasions. He knows what it takes to succeed and will bring fantastic qualities to the Vodafone Warriors."

- APNZ

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