Wakefield Wildcats: Struggling Wildcats close in on Samoan international hooker

Lopini Paea.

Lopini Paea.

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Wakefield TRINITY WILDCATS are closing in on Samoan international Michael Sio.

The Wildcats have space on their overseas quota following the recent departures of Lopini Paea and Dean Collis, who were both released from their contracts with immediate effect to enable them to return to Australia for personal reasons, and have lined up a move for the 22-year-old Sio.

“We’ve been in negotiations with Michael and hopefully we’ll have that concluded shortly,” new coach Brian Smith said.

The Auckland-born hooker came through the New Zealand Warriors junior system and was the club’s under-20s player of the year in 2013, but has been playing this season for Mackay Cutters in the tier below the NRL.

Sio played for Samoa in the 2013 World Cup and faced England in the opening match of the 2014 Four Nations Series in Brisbane, where he shared the hooking duties with Wakefield half-back or hooker Pita Godinet.

Sio will not arrive in time for Wakefield’s next match against Catalans Dragons in Perpignan on Saturday.

Smith has ruled out forward Dan Smith (rib) and hooker Stuart Howarth (wrist) after they were injured in Sunday’s home defeat by Salford and there is a major doubt over skipper Danny Kirmond, who has a shoulder problem.

Three-quarters Reece Lyne and Richie Owen are both set to return from injury for the Wildcats, who set off for the south of France today.

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