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Englishman on way to NRL with Titans

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 20/02/2017 Scott Bailey and Ian Laybourn

Gold Coast have signed English back-rower Joe Greenwood to a three-year deal at the NRL club in an exchange with Super League side St Helens for New Zealander Zeb Taia, effective immediately.

Greenwood, 23, is a member of Wayne Bennett's 31-man elite English training squad ahead of this year's World Cup, and has made 77 appearances for Saints since debuting in 2012.

He was formally released from St Helens on Monday morning, and will head to Australia in the "near future" in a bid to press his claims for a spot in the Titans back row or on the bench in the early stages of the coming season.

Titans chief executive Tony Mestrov said the club had aimed to have the 190cm edge player for the 2018 and 2019 seasons, but were excited at the opportunity to have him join in 2017.

"Hopefully we can get him here relatively quickly and he will be pushing for an NRL start in the near future," Mestrov said.

"He adds some size to our forward pack and will provide some good impact on the edges.

Greenwood has the potential to add another attacking option to the Titans, having scored 23 tries in his career - including 10 last season.

In return, the Titans have released Taia, 32, on a contract that also runs to the end of the 2019 season.

Taia played for Parramatta and Newcastle before moving to Super League in 2013 with the Catalans, for whom he scored 35 tries in 75 appearances.

Taia, who captained the Cook Islands in the 2013 World Cup after switching his allegiance from New Zealand, was named in the 2015 Super League Dream before opting to return to NRL with the Titans.

"Zeb wanted to prove last season that he was still able to perform in the NRL and he certainly did that, playing in every game except the finals fixture," Titans coach Neil Henry said.

"He was a regular mainstay in our starting 13 last season and he provided great leadership both on and off the field."

Taia had been off-contract at the Titans at the end of 2017.

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