The Entrance coach Jamy Forbes believes former Cronulla Sharks prop David Fifita can provide the "leadership" and "toughness" the Tigers need to make a charge towards the Newcastle Rugby League finals in 2023.
Fifita, 33, looks set to line up for the Tigers after returning from England, where played 141 games for Wakefield over seven seasons. He agreed late last year to join The Entrance but reports at the time indicated he would likely play in the Central Coast competition.
However Forbes confirmed on Tuesday the 120kg prop had been training in anticipation of playing in the Newcastle Rugby League.
"That's the plan," Forbes said. "He got some Aboriginal work on the coast and agreed to come and give us a hand. He will bring a lot of experience and with a young pack, that's what we need. He brings a bit of size too."
Forbes said it was a bit of a risk to sign Fifita given he is nearing the end of his career but felt it could benefit the club across the board.
Despite beating both grand finalists in Macquarie and premiers Maitland last season, the Tigers ultimately ran seventh in 2022, seven points outside the top five.
"He might attract a few more sponsors, a few more players," Forbes said. "Even his twin brother Andrew has visited training. It's good to have him stick his head in and get the boys excited.
"We needed someone with leadership and a bit of toughness. We beat Macquarie and Maitland, but the boys struggled week-to-week."
To see more stories and read today's paper download the Newcastle Herald news app here.