WIDNES Vikings have signed experienced forward, Weller Hauraki, on a season long-loan deal from Salford Red Devils.

The deal sees Vikings centre, Ed Chamberlain, and prop, Greg Burke, move to Salford on loan for the remainder of the season, in exchange for the move. The pair, who were out of contract at the end of this season, have signed permanent deals for the Red Devils from the 2019 season.

Weller has appeared in both the NRL and Super League, in a career that has spanned more than a decade.

Hauraki made his debut in 2007 with NRL side, Parramatta Eels. He moved to these shores to join Crusaders RL in 2010, before spells with Leeds Rhinos, Castleford Tigers and Salford Red Devils followed. Weller has amassed more than 200 senior club appearances. As the Captain of Salford Red Devils, Weller brings both leadership and power to the Vikings.

The New Zealand Maori representative has big game experience in England, with two Challenge Cup final appearances for both Leeds and Castleford. This attitude and mentality can prove vital as the Vikings move into the crunch part of their Betfred Super League season.

Weller can operate across the forward pack, but is arguably at his most destructive working on an edge in the second row. Hauraki can also perfectly fill the void left by Hep Cahill, following his season ending injury, which was sustained recently against Wakefield Trinity.

Francis Cummins, Interim Head Coach of Widnes Vikings, says: “We are excited to be able bring someone of Weller’s ability into the team.

He’ll give us a real lift, add threat to the team and improve our competition for places. Throughout this season, with injuries, we haven’t always had the opportunity to draw on our most senior and experienced players, who are able to guide the team. There are no doubts that Weller will offer real leadership and direction for the team.

“At this stage of the season, tough decisions need to be made. We’ve looked at our priorities and decided that the exchange for Ed and Greg, who would be moving on at the end of this season, is the right decision. I hope that this is a good opportunity for both players and would like to thank them for their contributions to the Vikings.”

Weller Hauraki says: “As soon as I got the phone call to start training with Widnes Vikings, I was really excited to join in with the boys. I already know a lot of the Vikings squad, like Aaron Heremaia, which makes the transition to a new team a lot easier.

I’m going to go out there and do my job – working hard, making strong carries, and all the things that I need to do to contribute to the team. I never thought I’d get the chance to sign for the Vikings, but today is the day. If I do get the chance to play at the weekend against Catalans Dragons, I’ll grab it with both hands and try to show the supporters what I can do.”