Roosters make fourth big signing in O'Donnell

Last updated 13:42 14/02/2013
Luke O'Donnell
Getty Images
NEW ROOSTER: Luke O'Donnell in action for Super League side Huddersfield.

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The Sydney Roosters have signed former NSW Origin back-rower Luke O'Donnell on a one-year NRL contract, making him the club's fourth big off-season recruit.

The deal was finalised after O'Donnell, who left North Queensland two years ago, was released from the final year of his contract with English Super League side Huddersfield.

The 32-year-old joins Sonny Bill Williams, James Maloney and Michael Jennings as star signings for the Roosters' 2013 season campaign.

Roosters coach Trent Robinson was delighted with his latest acquisition, just 24 hours after securing halfback Mitchell Pearce's services for another four years.

"Luke has plenty of experience, will fit into our system here well and we're looking forward to him starting," said Robinson.

"Together with our other senior players in the forwards like Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, Martin Kennedy and Frank-Paul Nuuausala, he's sure to not only help on the field.

"It will be great to have him mentor the younger forwards we have coming through the ranks."

O'Donnell said his desire to return to Australia with his young family was the main reason for his early departure from Yorkshire.

"I'm looking forward to the challenge of playing in the NRL again, and can't wait to meet my new teammates and getting stuck into training," said O'Donnell.

However, Huddersfield managing director Richard Thewlis said another factor for his departure was the changing of tax regulations in the UK.

Only a week ago the Giants rejected a player exchange deal proposed by the Roosters but Thewlis confirmed the player had sought and been granted a release with no strings attached.

"Firstly I would say that deep down neither Luke nor the club wanted this outcome to be how things panned out," said Thewlis.

"However, the reality is that Luke is financially in a different place now to that envisaged when he joined at the start of the 2011 season.

"The changing regulations in respect of offshore pensions have caused him significant difficulties, as I am sure it must have for other overseas players in the UK.

"But fortunately for him an opportunity has arisen back home which will help him going forward.

"We do not wish to stand in the way of a longer-term opportunity for him.

"Next year's Giants contract was an option we held and we would have wanted to see a long consistent run of appearances before we would commit to the fourth year, which understandably was important for Luke.

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"In a nutshell he understands where we are coming from, we understand his frustrations and we have simply shaken hands, wished each other all the very best and we each move on."

- AAP

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