BOYHOOD Bulls fan Vila Halafihi has become the 14th addition to Jimmy Lowes' squad for next season after agreeing a one-year deal.

The former Leeds Rhinos academy hooker has spent the past year in Australia with Penrith Panthers, where he has been successfully plying his trade in the club's under-20s side.

The 20-year-old has been working under former Australia international Trent Barrett and is keen to make his mark at Odsal.

"Coming home is a big step forward for my career after a really exciting and challenging year with the Panthers," said Hull-born Halafihi.

"I'm a massive Bradford Bulls fan, so feel absolutely privileged to have signed for such a great club.

"Bradford was the first team I ever supported and I want to play a part in helping return the club to its former glory.

"I have had a great apprenticeship and am privileged to say Trent Barrett has been coaching me all season. I have learnt a huge amount from him. He has really added to my game.

"Joining the Bulls is a huge opportunity for me – one which I was quick to grasp."

Halafihi, whose father Nick played for Hull KR, Sheffield and London, worked with Lowes in the academy at Leeds.

"From the minute the club approached me, I have been getting excited about the prospect of working with James Lowes again," he said.

"He was with the Rhinos when I was there and to have someone who has won such a long list of trophies while playing my position will be fantastic for me going forward.

"The club are doing a great job on the recruitment front and I have certainly been keeping an eye on the way the squad is shaping up.

"There are some exciting names already on board and there is a pretty good mix of talent in place.

"Competition for places is always healthy and I am really looking forward to fighting for a spot in the Bradford team."

With Matt Diskin due to make an announcement on his future later this month, Halaifihi is expected to battle it out with Adam O'Brien for the hooking role next term.

"We have some very talented hookers already on board and I expect Vila to only add to what they bring to the team," said Lowes.

"Vila has a great understanding of the game. He comes with an impressive pedigree for someone of his age and I believe he has the ability to go far.

"I fully expect him to be pushing his peers all the way for a spot in the first 17 next season, while adding a level of depth for us.

"Vila knows his way to the line and, from my time with him at Leeds, I know he has all of the right ingredients.

"He is a good all-round athlete, boasting bags of potential and ability. This is a signing I am excited about and I look forward to seeing him get stuck in to pre-season training."

Halafihi is due to arrive in the UK in October, prior to the start of pre-season training.