Wakefield Trinity Wildcats today signed five-time Grand Final winner Ian Kirke from Leeds Rhinos on a one-year deal.
Rhinos have released Kirke from the final year of his contract, less than a week after another prop, Ryan Bailey, was allowed to join Hull KR.
Kirke joined Rhinos from York City Knights in 2006 and was a member of this year’s Challenge Cup final-winning side. as well as playing in the 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011 and 2012 Super League title triumphs.
The 33-year-old said: “I’m really looking forward to this new chapter in my career at Wakefield.
“I’d like to thank Leeds for a very enjoyable nine years there. This is a great challenge for me and one that I’m really excited about, especially linking up with my old team mates Paul McShane, Ali Lauitiiti and Nick Scruton.”
Wildcats head coach, James Webster said: “Ian will add size and experience to our pack and will make us a better team.
“His professionalism will rub off on the youngsters and improve their performances. Our forward pack has genuine competition for places and pre-season has reflected that so far. I’m delighted to welcome him to the team.”
The move was finalised this morning and Kirke will train with his new team mates for the first time on Thursday.
Rhinos chief executive Gary Hetherington said: “Ian has been an outstanding servant on and off the field and he leaves with the best wishes of everyone at the Rhinos.”
Rhinos are understood to have a replacement forward in their sights, though Hetherington refused to comment on team strengthening plans.