Already boasting Super League’s best team in 2018, league leaders St Helens have continued their preparations for next season with the signing of Cronulla Sharks forward Joseph Paulo on a three year deal from 2019.
With in excess of 150 NRL matches under his belt, 30-year-old Paulo has represented both Samoa and the USA at international level, captaining the latter at the 2013 World Cup. Starting his career with Penrith Panthers, the New Zealand born forward has made the majority of his NRL appearances in the colours of Parramatta between 2011 and 2015 before moving onto the Sharks ahead of the 2016 campaign. While the Sharks won the NRL Grand Final in that year, Paulo wasn’t involved but he did see his future Saints team mate Ben Barba star and score the game’s first try.
Speaking of his imminent move to Super League and the Saints, Paulo expressed his happiness at the news. “The decision to leave the NRL and come over to the UK is one I am really excited about. It was a choice that was made easier too when I knew I was coming over to a great club like St Helens,” he shared. “I know Zeb Taia and Ryan Morgan and also played with Ben Barba at the Sharks. I’m close to Kevin Naiqama so it will be good to play alongside those boys.”
Understandably pleased to have further bolstered his ranks, head coach Justin Holbrook spoke highly of his new recruit. “I’ve watched Joseph for a number of years now and I admire how he plays the game,” he said, adding that “he has a high skill level, with good vision, and will be a good addition to the squad next season.”
Saints have already recruited Paulo’s fellow NRL star Kevin Naiqama for 2019 as well as York City Knights’ try scoring back-rower Joe Batchelor.