Vila Halafihi joins Eagles
Sheffield Eagles are delighted to announce the signing of Vila Halafihi on a two-year deal.
Halafihi joins the Eagles from Hunslet RLFC, where he has spent the last three seasons.
The hooker came through the respective academy systems at Castleford Tigers and Leeds Rhinos before he moved to Australia to represent Penrith Panthers’ U20 side,
Halafihi returned to Yorkshire with Bradford Bulls in 2015 prior to his switch to the Parksiders in 2019.
After signing for the Eagles, Halafihi said: “I’m over the moon,”
“I feel like it’s a step forward in my career, I’m looking forward to the opportunity and the challenge.
“I’ve played Championship before with Bradford but it’s been good to get some games under my belt in League 1 with Hunslet.
“I feel like I understand the game a lot better now after playing nearly every game for the past couple of years but I’m delighted to get the opportunity to challenge myself back in the Championship.
“Last time in the Championship I was a bit of a cover player.
“I want to play as many games as possible, improve as a player and improve as a bloke and try and learn as much as I can off the other lads.”
Commenting on the Eagles squad, he said: “There are some good players in my position at Sheffield so it’ll be a challenge to get in the side but it’s one I'm looking to tackle with everything I’ve got.
Halafihi is following in the footsteps of his father, Nick, who was an Eagles player from 1988 to 1992.
Vila spoke of Nick's delight in seeing his son make the move to Sheffield. “He’s buzzing, he’s really happy,"
“He’s spoken very highly of Tubbs (Mark Aston) and the club and he thinks it’s a great opportunity for me.”
Eagles chief Aston was pleased to secure the services of Halafihi, a player he has monitored extensively.
Aston said: “He is a great kid,”
“I played with Nick so I’ve known Vila too.
“He was at Leeds, went to Penrith which shows what ability he has.
“He went to Bradford and did well there, however he was unfortunate to be let go. He had a spell at Hunslet but COVID took a couple of years away.
“He has some ability, he’s smart and tough. He is a nine but a big nine, he can play at 13 - he is like an Aaron Brown.
“He is living in Sheffield and works in and around the community.
“He fits so well for us and having seen him, know him and the family, he’s just the fit to get the culture right.
"He wants to get back to the level he sets himself and he’ll be working to become an 80-minute player for the Sheffield Eagles.
“I am delighted with him and his versatility.”
By Lewis Coleman,