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Tigers happy after snaring McKinnon

By Ed Jackson 26/05/2010 08:14:34 PM Comments (0)

Wests Tigers feel securing fullback Wade McKinnon from the Warriors solves a key positional problem for the NRL club.

McKinnon was granted an early release from his contract with the Warriors on Wednesday and has joined the Tigers until the end of the season.

The 29-year-old was frozen out at Mt Smart Stadium with New Zealand international Lance Hohaia making the No.1 shirt his own.

Since the Tigers lost youngster Tim Moltzen to a serious knee injury against North Queensland in April, fullback has been a problem position for the club.

But Tigers recruitment manager Warren McDonnell says McKinnon will be the perfect solution.

"Certainly fullback, we had a couple of options at the start of the year that haven't come to fruition, for one reason or another, yet we're still skinny in that position," McDonnell told AAP.

"He'll be a good buy for us.

"His attack's very good. He sniffs around the ruck, that's his game and that's what we need at the moment.

"He's good under the high ball, his defence is good, he's got a lot of pluses."

The Warriors said releasing McKinnon was not part of their plans but the player's agent had approached the club earlier this week about leaving the club.

"We were committed to Wade staying with us for the rest of his contract but he wants to play first-grade football regularly and recently he hasn't been able to do that here with Lance Hohaia firmly established at fullback in our NRL side," Warriors chief executive Wayne Scurrah said.

"Wade has made a great contribution to the club since joining us for the 2007 season and we appreciate the effort he has put in."

McKinnon, who has also played at Parramatta and South Sydney in his NRL career, made 54 appearances for the Warriors and missed most of the 2008 season with a serious knee injury.

"It's sad leaving. I've loved my time here with the players, the staff and also living in Auckland but I have a real desire to play a lot more first-grade football," McKinnon said in a Warriors' statement.

"I'm really thankful to the Warriors for everything they've done for me and wish the club all the best for the future. I'll still be taking an interest in what's happening here."

McDonnell said McKinnon would be considered for a longer-term deal if his move to the Tigers pays off on the park.

"He'll obviously be wanting to prove himself as well considering he's trying to secure an NRL contract for next season, hopefully with us, we'll see how he goes," McDonnell said.

"It can only be a bonus for us."

McKinnon will join up with his new teammates later this week but part of the deal for him to switch clubs means he won't be eligible for the Tigers in Friday's match against the Warriors at Campbelltown Stadium.

That means the earliest date for McKinnon to make his Tigers' debut will be the round 13 clash against Canterbury at ANZ Stadium on June 4.

Brought to you by AAP AAP © 2024 AAP

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