|Deal: Barry Richardson|
All that remains now is for Pora to pass an English exam which is a pre-requisite to gaining a visa.
He has already sat the tests but the results have still to come from Australia causing the delay in completing the deal.
Whitehaven chief executive Barry Richardson confirmed: “Rodney has signed for us and once he passes the exam there should be no problems. I spoke to him on New Year’s Day and he’s as keen as mustard to come.”
He has been a regular in the Papua New Guinea team for several years and is first-choice No 8. Richardson described Pora as “a big, rough tough forward who has a substantial presence on the field”.
And there could be a double PNG boost as Whitehaven remain confident of signing Pora’s front-row international team-mate who can’t be named at this stage. “Terms have been agreed, all the paperwork has been sorted out at this end, we are just waiting for him to get a visa in his own country. We are keeping fingers crossed,” said Richardson.
Definitely returning from PNG is Jessie Joe Parker to add his considerable force to the back division having contributed spectacularly to the promotion success. The deal is signed and sealed.
Richardson will meet him at Newcastle Airport on January 10. And landing at the same airport on Friday from Australia is speedy all-rounder James Cameron.
“We have recruited well,” said Richardson. “It’s going to be tough but if everybody pulls together on and off the field we can do well in the Championship.
“One way or another our pack is going to be stronger and more powerful than last season having already signed two other experienced props in Paul Jackson and Lee Paterson.”