Destination Hull for Wakefield Trinity players Jai Whitbread and Morgan Smith
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Australian Whitbread has joined Hull KR on a three-year deal while Smith will play across the city with Hull FC after putting pen to paper on a two-year contract.
Whitbread linked up with Wakefield at the end of 2021 after a short spell with Leigh and made 39 appearances for the Belle Vue club.
The 25-year-old endured an injury-hit 2023, however, featuring just 16 times, which contributed to Trinity’s difficult campaign.
Keeping hold of such a highly rated forward was always going to be impossible for the Wakefield club and they accepted their fate.
Confirming his departure, they thanked him for his efforts and wished him the best for the future.
It is believed Rovers paid a fee to Trinity to beat other Super League rivals to his signature and head coach Peters believes the club are getting a player coming into his prime.
He said: "Jai was a sought after front rower in the competition this year.
"There were a number of teams that wanted Jai’s services for 2024. We see him as an important signing for the club.
"Jai plays long minutes for a prop and he’s right up there in terms of the stats in comparison with the best front-rowers in the competition.
"We think he’s going to add a lot to our pack next season. With Jai only being 25 years old, if he continues to work hard there’s no doubt his best years are ahead of him.”
Smith, meanwhile, left Wakefield a year on after signing from Featherstone Rovers. He played 15 times and proved his utility value in more than one position through the year, but has opted to stay in Super League with Hull after being given an opportunity he admitted was too big to turn down.
"I’m grateful to Tony Smith and James Clark for providing me with the chance to show what I can do at a huge club like Hull,” he said.
“I’m excited to work under Tony again. I’m confident he can get the best out of me and he can get me playing the best rugby I can."