The Maitland Pickers have bolstered their attack signing former Canberra Raiders and Auckland Warriors centre Matt Allwood.
The Pickers beat several rival Newcastle Rugby League club’s to Allwood’s signature, officially sealing the deal at the Pickers home Club Maitland City on Saturday.
Allford had been set to play with the Newcastle Knights last season but was injured in the trial match against Parramatta Eels at Maitland Sportsground.
“We probably got a little predictable in our attack towards the end of last season predominantly going down Josh Griffiths’ side of the field,” Pickers president Frank Lawler said.
“Matt certainly gives us a quality attacking centre on the other side of the field.
“We’re hopeful of re-signing all our backs from last season and with Matt joining it really gives us a lot more options in attack and solid defence.”
Allwood, who is good mates with retired Pickers forward and under-19 coach Dane Tilse, joins prized recruits Tyrone Amey and Sam Anderson at Maitland in 2019.
The 26-year-old Allwood played 11 first grade games with the Raiders in 2014 and five games with the Warriors from 2015-17.
At 185cm and 93kg he will be a handful for opposing backlines to handle in attack and a formidable addition to the Pickers defensive line.
Lawler said the move back to the Maitland Sportsground and the financial security afforded by having Club Maitland City behind the club was making the Pickers the destination club in players’ thoughts.
“It’s not all about money, having Luke Dorn and an excellent coaching panel as well as the fantastic facilities makes it a far easier task to attract and sign players,” Lawler said.
“But we are not about just signing players, the development of our youth is central to our plans going forward and we have some very exciting players coming through from our under-19s and reserves who will play big parts next season.”