Wakefield Wildcats sign Paul Aiton and Richard Mathers

Paul Aiton
Aiton is a former team-mate of other new signing Dean Collis

Wakefield Wildcats have signed Papua New Guinea international hooker Paul Aiton, subject to visa clearance.

The 26-year-old, who joins on a two-year deal from NRL side Cronulla Sharks, has 39 caps and skippered his country in the 2010 Four Nations.

His signing follows news that full-back Richie Mathers will also join on a season-long loan from Castleford.

The 28-year-old cannot be recalled by the Tigers during the deal and will be eligible to face his parent club.

The former Leeds, Titans, Wigan and Warrington back said: "I think it's understandable that people are getting excited with the quality that has been signed and Richard and the coaching staff are new as well.

"I think expectation will be quite high to start with but I think realistically it's going to take time and it's something that will grow over the course of the season and the pre-season friendlies will help massively."

In contrast to Mathers' vast Super League experience Aiton has played all his rugby in Australia.

He started his career at Penrith in 2006 and went on to to make more than 70 appearances for the Panthers.

In 2010 he moved to the Sharks where he played 31 times over two seasons but did have a disappointing final campaign with the Sydney-based outfit.

"I had certain goals that I wanted to achieve in the NRL and I've achieved those," he said.

"Another goal of mine is to play in the Super League and there were a couple of clubs interested but I met with Richard Agar when he was in Australia and from the way he spoke about the club I wanted to be part of the rebuilding.

"I want to cement a spot in the team and get as much game time as I can," added Aiton.

"Paul is a tough and committed player who plays the game very quick and direct," said Wildcats head coach Agar.

"He's a proven performer in the NRL and on the international stage with PNG where he has shown tremendous leadership qualities as their captain.

"As well as playing hooker he'll fill a number of other roles for us too. He's a very experienced and high quality performer."

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