Featherstone Rovers have made another significant capture with the surprise signing of veteran ex-England prop Paul Wood from Warrington Wolves.
The 33-year-old, who won the Challenge Cup twice with Warrington, could debut as soon as Sunday’s friendly at Wakefield Trinity Wildcats.
He is renowned as being one of Super League’s toughest players, more so after his famous escapades in the 2012 Grand Final.
Wood ruptured a testicle in Warrington’s Old Trafford defeat against Leeds Rhinos but played on for another 20 minutes before departing and did not even mention the injury until later that evening.
He then needed surgery to have it removed but made a full recovery and went on to amass 339 appearances for the Wolves, but found opportunities scarce last term.
The Cheshire club has now accepted his request to be released from the remainder of his contract enabling him to instead, sign a two-year deal at Post Office Road for a side intent on challenging for promotion.
Rovers head coach Andy Hay said: “Paul is an experienced forward who will bring aggression to our pack.
“He was looking for a fresh challenge and was impressed with the ambition that we are showing on and off the pitch at the club.
“He appreciates what we are trying to achieve at Featherstone and is eager to be involved and play a vital contribution to our future.
“He’s a tough player who does not take a backward step and has a very good off-load in his game.
“I think we will complement our other forwards and be a real asset for us in what will be a highly competitive Kingstone Press Championship.”
Wood, who won two England caps against France and New Zealand in 2005, was restricted to just nine Super League appearances last season but featured twice on dual-registration for Swinton Lions so has had a taste of the Championship.
“I am really looking forward to the challenge 2015 will bring to both Featherstone Rovers and myself,” he said.
“I had a number of options to remain in Super League or to move into the Championship.
“But when I came over to Featherstone there was a good feel about the place which was amplified when speaking with Andy Hay and chairman Mark Campbell.
“It’s a great place to play rugby league and whenever I’ve been here in the past we’ve always commented on how well the fans get behind the Rovers.
“I can’t believe they’ve actually built two stands!
“I’ve had a good pre-season with Warrington and now I can’t wait to get started in a Featherstone Rovers shirt, hopefully at Wakefield on Sunday.”
Warrington coach Tony Smith said: “I’d like to thank Paul for his contribution to the club.
“He’s provided 15 years of great service.
“Paul expressed a desire for a new challenge and this request was granted.
“Competition for places is tough and we need people ready for that challenge.
“There is an exciting time ahead with the new staff, players and improvement of training facilities, therefore we require everyone to be 100 per cent committed to the Warrington cause.
“We wish Paul and his family all the best for the future.”