WAKEFIELD Trinity Wildcats have signed giant Parramatta Eels forward Matt Ryan on a two-year deal.
The towering Ryan, who stands at six foot six inches, has featured recently in the NRL but is now looking to make his mark in Super League.
He is equally adept at prop or back-row and brings more versatility to Richard Agar’s squad as the Trinity chief continues his rebuilding for 2014.
Ryan, 25, said: “It’s all pretty exciting. It came as a bit of a shock to get the chance to come over but I jumped at the opportunity.
“I’ve only had two seasons of first grade so Super League wasn’t something I’d really considered.
“But the chance to go to a new country and experience a different lifestyle and competition is an awesome opportunity.”
He was on the books of Wests Tigers as a youngster but never made a senior appearance and was used primarily for Balmain, their New South Wales Cup side.
Ryan made the move to their Sydney rivals and eventually made his NRL debut against Cronulla Sharks last year.
He has gone on to make 24 appearances, scoring four tries and was a former team-mate of current Wildcats forward Taulima Tautai.
“I spoke to Richard Agar and he said he’d seen a few of my games and wanted to give players the chance to show their talents,” added Ryan, who will join pending a successful visa application.
“He pretty much won me over straight away.”
Ryan was part of the 2012 Prime Ministers XIII that beat Papua New Guinea alongside the likes of current Kangaroos Darius Boyd and Michael Jennings who have just won the World Cup with Australia.
He has kept a close eye on that competition and admitted seeing the huge crowds on show and hearing about the atmosphere at grounds around the country has only whetted his appetite for playing in Super League.
“It’s a more open game over there and everyone loves playing attacking footy,” said the player, whose team-mates at Parramatta included tournament joint-top try-scorer Jarryd Hayne, Tongan powerhouse Fuifui Moimoi and ace USA stand-off Joseph Paulo.
“I watched a lot of the World Cup games and some of the skills on show from the Super League players in the different nations were outstanding.
“I spoke to a couple of players that were involved and they spoke about how close the crowd is to the pitch and the noise they make so I’m really excited to play in front of fans like that.”
Following on from 27-year-old Brisbane Broncos forward Scott Anderson, Ryan is the second Australian to sign at the Rapid Solicitors Stadium of late.
Agar, who has recently further strengthened his pack options with the capture of Leeds Rhinos pairing Paul McShane and Richard Moore, said: “He’s a big guy who has the ability to play on the edges or as a middle player.
“He’s a tremendous attacking player, has good footwork, can offload and will bring a real physical presence to our pack.”