St George Illawarra have confirmed the signing of forward Ben Murdoch-Masila on a two-year deal after he was granted an early release by the Warriors last week.
The 211-game veteran will bolster Anthony Griffin’s forward pack and provide a big body through the middle after the retirement of George Burgess and Josh McGuire’s departure to Warrington.
“The Dragons are pleased to welcome Tongan international Ben Murdoch-Masila to the club for the 2023 and 2024 seasons,” a press release noted.
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The 31-year-old previously arrived at the Warriors with a great reputation after a successful five-year stint in the Super League where he often terrorised defenders with his powerful running game.
He made an impressive start to his time with New Zealand in 2021, scoring four tries in his first eight matches. However, injuries have since curtailed his return to the NRL after he managed just 11 appearances last season.
Despite this, the Warriors made it clear that they wanted to keep Murdoch-Masila for the final year of his contract before reluctantly deciding to release him after the Dragons offered him a long-term deal.
New year, new recruit 💥
— St George Illawarra Dragons (@NRL_Dragons) December 31, 2022
“While we were keen for Ben to remain with us for the full term of his contract, we weren’t in a position right now to offer a further contract beyond this,” Warriors’ CEO Cameron George said.
“At the same time another club offered him a longer-term deal giving him the security he was looking for.”
The Auckland-born Tongan international will join Zane Musgrove as a fellow new recruit for the Red V, as they attempt to add some size to their forward rotation.
“Ben is a quality player with great experience, and he certainly provides what we have been looking to build within our forward pack,” Dragons General Manager of Football Ben Haran said.
“We are excited to see him join the playing group next week and look forward to the impact he will have at the club.”