The South Sydney Rabbitohs will farewell former captain and current international front rower Roy Asotasi at season’s end, with Asotasi announcing that he will join English Super League giants, the Warrington Wolves, for the 2014 and 2015 seasons.
Asotasi, 31, has played 122 NRL games for the Rabbitohs to date since round one, 2007, in a career which currently spans 206 first grade games.
Asotasi has also played 25 Test matches for New Zealand and Samoa over the past decade, having become the first Rabbitohs player to captain two different Test playing nations, and is set to captain Samoa at the Rugby League World Cup later this year.
Asotasi won a premiership with the Bulldogs in 2004 before joining the Rabbitohs in 2007 when he was widely regarded as the best prop forward in the world.
Rabbitohs CEO Shane Richardson paid tribute to Asotasi and his contribution to South Sydney.
“Roy started the revolution at the Rabbitohs when he signed with us back in 2006 and we will never forget that,” Mr Richardson said.
“Roy was the best prop forward in the game at the time and his faith in the vision for the Club has led us to where we are heading now.
“Along with Roy came the likes of David Kidwell, Nigel Vagana and Dean Widders, and following him came players of the calibre of Greg Inglis, Sam Burgess, Michael Crocker and Matt King. He has also helped develop the talents and leadership qualities of the likes of Issac Luke, John Sutton and Adam Reynolds.
“Roy has played well over 100 first grade games for this Club, overcome some tough battles with injury, captained the Club for a number of seasons, and has given 100% every time he’s pulled on the red and green jersey.
“Roy is one of our forward leaders and will always be remembered as such, and now he has an opportunity to extend his career at a quality English Club in Warrington.
“Roy will always be remembered as one of the players to set us on our current path, as a person who has helped take us from the doldrums on the field to a position where we are a contender for the premiership, and hopefully we can send him out on the right note at the end of the year.
“We wish him and his young family the best of luck in England next year, and we look forward to seeing him represent South Sydney on many more occasions this year.”
Rabbitohs Head Coach Michael Maguire says Asotasi has played a large role in mentoring many in the current South Sydney squad.
“Roy’s professionalism really stood out for me when I first came to Souths,” Coach Maguire said.
“You could really see the passion that he had, and still has, for the Club. He wanted the Club to progress in the right direction and he’s played a huge role in helping us take that direction. He’s a very loyal person; he shows great loyalty to what we’re trying to do here.
“He’s been a major part of the leadership here at Souths, and he’s been a very big part of the development of a lot of our players’ careers over the years.
“With Roy, it’s always about the team, and he will do everything possible to achieve the best for the Club and for his mates.”
Asotasi says he’s looking forward to the rest of this season with the Rabbitohs before beginning a new adventure in England.
“I’ve loved every minute of playing at the Rabbitohs and the ride certainly isn’t over yet,” Asotasi said.
“I can’t wait to run out there with the boys this weekend in Perth and hopefully many more times for the rest of this season.
“I’ll always think of myself as a South Sydney boy, and I’ll be looking forward to the next chapter of my career once this season comes to a close.
“We have much more to achieve at this Club and the job isn’t done yet. I’m looking forward to playing my part for the rest of the year.”