Hull FC have secured their third signing ahead of the 2015 season with a move for the vastly experienced Gold Coast Titans back rower Mark Minichiello on a two-year deal.
The 32-year old has agreed deal to join the Airlie Birds for the start of the 2015 campaign, making the Italian international the third player to switch to the KC Stadium, following half backs Marc Sneyd and Leon Pryce.
Minichiello, much like the latter, brings with him a wealth of experience to a young looking Black and Whites squad, having played over 250 appearances during his thirteen seasons in the NRL.
It is going to be a new challenge for me and I am really looking forward to it I can’t wait to get over there and experience a different league. I have always had dreams of playing in the Super League, and when this deal and opportunity came about, I just thought it was the right time to jump in and experience something new. Hull is a club with a long history, is one of the bigger clubs over there and from what I hear the fans are very passionate about rugby league, they have a good culture for rugby.
Hull FC forward Dean Hadley has signed a new contract that will keep him at the KC Stadium until the end of 2016.
The 22-year-old Hull-born back rower, who made his debut against Catalan Dragons last season, has established himself in Lee Radford's side this year, appearing in 13 of their last 19 matches.
"What Dean brings to training and what he has brought this year on the field has been immense," Radford said.
"And he has taken huge strides in his development, which is why we were keen to offer him this extension."
Hull KR caretaker coach Chris Chester claims his team's Super League play-off hopes will be on the line when they host reigning champions Wigan on Thursday night.
A 28-10 defeat at Widnes in their last match left Rovers three points behind the eighth-placed Vikings, but a win over the Warriors, who have the chance to go top of the table, would keep the campaign alive for Chester's men with three matches left of the regular season.
Chester, whose own position would be strengthened with a third win under his temporary charge, is hoping for a response after accusing his players of "dishonesty" in their last outing.
"We've done a bit of soul-searching and had a few heart-to-hearts," Chester said.
"We were dishonest against Widnes and we have addressed that in training over the past two weeks.
"Hopefully we'll get some kind of reaction with a much more professional performance against Wigan.
"We still believe. There are still eight points up for grabs and we have to make sure we put a good display in on Thursday and get a result. If we don't get a performance, it probably throws away our chances of making the play-offs.
"It's a tough ask but I watched the Bradford game in depth and they showed it can be done. They got in their faces early and we have to make sure we have a good start and stay with them."
Wigan's shock 16-8 defeat by Bradford last month means they have lost on five of their six trips into Yorkshire this year, but they won at Hull FC in May and inflicted on Rovers a club record 84-6 humiliation in the corresponding match in 2013.
The Warriors had to work for their win over Hull KR at the DW Stadium in March and coach Shaun Wane is determined not to under-estimate his team's opponents.
"Hull KR is a tough place to go," Wane said. "It is an old-style ground and they are a good team.
"They are well coached by Chris Chester who I know well. He will have them very motivated as they want to get into the top eight and ensure their season does not end after four games.
"We got our fingers burnt at Bradford and Wakefield so I am sure we will go there with a good attitude and our players understand that the games left are all like Grand Finals."
The 2013 double winners, who have already relinquished their hold on the Challenge Cup, are two points behind St Helens but have a superior points difference so would leapfrog their arch rivals, at least for 24 hours, with a win at the KC Lightstream Stadium.
"We want to win the League Leaders' Shield so we have four Grand Finals left, which if we win, then puts the pressure all on St Helens," Wane added.
Wigan's former Hull KR stand-off Blake Green will make his comeback from a three-month lay-off, caused by a ruptured bicep, and Wane is also able to call on forward Eddy Pettybourne, who has been out for a month with a jaw injury.
Hull KR have forward Rhys Lovegrove back from injury while utility back Craig Hall is set to take over at centre from the axed Kris Welham, who was sent to partner club Gateshead last weekend in an attempt to re-discover his lost confidence.
Hull's one-club half-back Richard Horne has announced he will retire at the end of the season.
The 32-year-old has been with his home-town side all of his playing life, having made his debut aged 16.
Since then he has racked up 383 appearances for the Black and Whites, including a victorious Challenge Cup Final in 2005.
Horne has earned Dream Team recognition in that time, while also making 12 appearances for Great Britain.
Horne will remain at the KC Stadium as an academy coach.
The latter part of Horne's career had to be tailored after he was diagnosed with diabetes, while he also came back from a career-threatening neck injury in 2008.
It has probably taken about two to three months to allow me to get my head around the idea, but it just feels the right time to retire from playing.
If somebody had told me when I made my debut for the club back when I was just 16 that I would still be playing for Hull at 32, I would have laughed and then quickly snapped their hand off for the opportunity. For me to be able to live my childhood dream, what more could you ask for?
It has been an amazing 16 years, unfortunately though at some point you have to make this decision and it just feels like the moment has come for me.
The decision has coincided with the club offering me this role within the coaching staff, which I am extremely looking forward to and I'm glad I am able to stay with Hull to take up this new challenge.
Hopefully I will be able to have an equally long coaching career at the club as I have managed to achieve playing.
FULL TIME Hull beat top of the table St Helens 19-12. The away side win the Prescott cup but the Airlie Birds will be delighted with the win
HALF TIME: Hull hold out to complete the first half come back, a far from ideal start with some very questionable refereeing decisions...
...going against them. But tries from Horne and Lineham have seen them over turn Makinson's early effort to make it 12-6 at the interval
Hull have completed a double swoop for half-backs Leon Pryce and Marc Sneyd for 2015.
The 32-year-old Pryce, who is out of contract with Catalan Dragons at the end of the season, has signed a two-year deal, while Hull have agreed a £100,000 transfer fee with Salford for the 22-year-old Sneyd, who is currently on a season-long loan at Castleford.
Sneyd, who recently had a transfer request rejected by the Red Devils, has signed a three-year contract with the Black and Whites, with an option to extend the deal.
Pryce - a former Great Britain stand-off - has won 24 international caps and is thought to have fielded offers from Wakefield and Featherstone as well his home-town club Bradford but has opted to team up with his old Bulls team-mate Lee Radford, the Hull head coach.
Castleford were keen to retain the services of Sneyd, who has been a revelation in their outstanding season, but are thought to have baulked at the size of the transfer fee demanded by Salford.
Hull FC have announced the signing of former Catalan Dragons centre or second rower Setaimata Sa, who has spent the last 18 months in rugby union with London Irish.
The 26-year-old Samoa-born former New Zealand international, who was a member of the Kiwis' World Cup-winning squad in 2008, has signed for the Black and Whites to the end of the 2015 season and is set to make his debut in Friday's game against Leeds at Headingley.
The 6ft 3in Sa spent four seasons in the NRL with Sydney Roosters before moving to Super League in 2009 and scored 24 tries in 69 appearances for the Dragons.
Hull FC have confirmed that squad members Joe Arundel and Jay Pitts have joined Bradford Bulls on loan until the end of the season.
Both players have made just five appearances between them in Super League this season and will have the chance to gain some game time with the Bulls.
Hull FC head coach Lee Radford said, "They're down the pecking order at the moment at the club and at their age they need the opportunities to get games and play.
"The emergence of Dean Hadley in the back row has probably limited Jay's opportunities in a position that is very competitive with the likes of Gareth Ellis, Joe Westerman, Chris Tuson, Richard Whiting and Jordan Thompson all able to play there.
Bulls coach Francis Cummins has expressed his delight at the club's double capture, insisting both Pitts and Arundel will add pace and power to his squad.
“Jay and Joe are young, hungry and hugely talented individuals who we are extremely excited to have on board.
“I coached Jay at Leeds, so I know a fair bit about him, and Joe has a proven track record at this level. Both of them need to be playing in the sport's top flight and we are pleased to be able to provide them with opportunities to do so.
“Jay will bolster our pack, as he has an ability to play in a number of different positions, while Joe provides much-needed competition in our three-quarter line.
“I am sure both of them are itching to get out there and we are excited about what they can bring to the team.
"Kirk Yeaman has been consistently our strongest centre for a number of years. Whiting has also played in there a few times too this season. This is a good chance for them to show what they're about and take the opportunity and I think they'll be better for it."
Craig Sandercock has praised his Hull KR players for keeping their heads to give him what he called his best win as coach.
The Robins saw off local rivals Hull FC 21-20 thanks to a Craig Hall drop goal with 46 seconds left, on a night when the video referee was one of the hardest working people in the ground.
The Robins had three tries denied at the screen and felt they had other decisions go against them, not to mention losing a 10-point lead before winning the game all over again.
"I'm happy the boys dug so deep under some extreme adversity. That's a year's worth in one night," the Australian said of the amount of decisions he felt had gone against his side.
"I'd have to say yes (his best win), considering the amount of adversity. I don't want to comment but I was very disappointed at a myriad of decisions.
At 20-16 ahead and with just under 10 minutes to go, Rovers sub James Green dropped the easiest of chances to score another try, shelling a pass a yard from an unguarded line.
Hull then scored through Fetuli Talanoa to make it 20-20, but Richard Whiting failed with the conversion and Hall won the day.