The Warriors have confirmed the signing of former Wigan star Anthony Gelling on a one year deal for the upcoming NRL season.
As first reported in the Herald yesterday, the 27-year-old centre or back-rower has been training with the Warriors over the past week before putting pen to paper on a contract today.
Gelling's arrival comes after he was recently granted a release from the last two years of his contract with Wigan after he returned to New Zealand to be with his girlfriend who was injured in a car accident in November.
"Rugby league wasn't the reason I came home," said Gelling.
"I'd had six seasons in England and I really wanted to be back in New Zealand around my family. I'm grateful for everything Wigan did for me and for allowing me to head home early.
"I wasn't sure what would happen with my career but the opportunity came up to train with the Warriors this week and now I'm excited about signing for the club."
The Howick junior previously played Under 20s for the Sydney Roosters and was a member of the Auckland Vulcans side that went down to the Canterbury Bulldogs in the 2011 NSW Cup grand final.
He joined Wigan the following season - where he played together with new Warriors five-eighth Blake Green - and scored 52 tries in 115 appearances that included Super League grand final and World Club challenge title wins.
"He's very keen and been very enthusiastic. He came in on spec after he gained a release from Wigan and he's trained with us this week," Warriors general manager of football Brian Smith told the Herald.
"He's walked into a really tough training schedule and he's eaten it up, he's done very well with it.
"He's really developed as a bloke and as a footy player. He's 27 now, he's at the peak of his career now I would think and he has an opportunity to come back home and have a crack at the big time in the NRL so he's a pretty happy boy."
Confirmation of Gelling's signing comes after he initially believed there was no place for him among the Warriors 30-man squad, which prompted him to consider different career paths.
"As far as playing glorious game and my late attempts to join the New Zealand Warriors, it looks as though there is no room at the Inn," Gelling explained last week in a blog post on his personal website.
"I have looked into rugby union later in the year and even the prospect of heading to university full time."
Centre has long been a troublesome area for the Warriors but the club is now flush for options out wide with Gelling joining fellow new recruits and Kiwi international pair Peta Hiku and Gerard Beale and the likes of David Fusitu'a, Blake Ayshford and Solomone Kata.
Smith confirmed he could also come into the mix as an edge back-rower while the make-up of the side for their round one clash against South Sydney in Perth on March 10 should become clearer following the Warriors pre-season trials against Melbourne Storm in Rotorua on February 17 and Gold Coast Titans on the Sunshine Coast on February 24.
"We'd need to train him up on some back-row stuff but he's certainly a contender for an NRL spot somewhere," he said.
"It's been a while since Anthony has played in the back-row but that's what he was as a young fella and obviously Bealey and Peta can both play other positions in that backline, so we've got quite a bit of versatility and coverage in our centres now."
Date of Birth: October 18, 1990
Junior Club: Howick Hornets
Rep Honours: Six Tests for Cook Islands (2009-2015)
Previous Clubs: Sydney Roosters (2009-2010), Auckland Vulcans (2011), Wigan Warriors (2012-2017)
Super League Career: 114 appearances for Wigan Warriors (2012-2017)
Super League Points: 208 (52 tries)
NYC Career: 30 appearances for Sydney Roosters
NYC Points: 28 points (7 tries)