Super Man set for hero's return after signing new Bradford Bulls contract (From Bradford Telegraph and Argus)
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Manase Manuokafoa signs new Bradford Bulls contract
Bulls prop Manase Manuokafoa has been rewarded for an outstanding debut campaign at Odsal with a new two-year deal.
The Tonga international, 27, arrived from Parramatta Eels last winter and went on to prove himself one of the best overseas signings in Super League in 2012.
He endured a cruel start to his Bulls career after he tore the posterior cruciate ligament in his right knee during a training session shortly before Christmas, ruling him out of the opening four rounds.
Manuokafoa finally made his bow off the bench at home to Warrington in March and played every game thereafter, establishing himself as a key figure as a starting prop or off the bench.
After his one-year deal expired, Manuokafoa became a free agent and was attracting interest from several clubs until terms were agreed with the Bulls on a two-year contract.
He becomes the fourth Bradford player to put pen to paper on a new contract in the last three weeks. Chev Walker, John Bateman and Luke Gale have committed their futures to the club, while the Bulls also announced the signing of Warrington’s Matty Blythe on a season-long loan last week.
Manuokafoa said: “With Omar Khan having taken over the club, I believe the Bulls can go places and I’m delighted to be a part of things going forward.
“We’re a tight-knit group and there are a lot of promising young lads having coming through the ranks such as John Bateman and Elliott Whitehead.
“The core of a very good squad is there and if we can teach the younger lads such as Sam Wood, Curtis Naughton and Oliver Roberts the ways of become a professional rugby player then we can grow stronger as a group.
“We’ve got a new-look side, a new coach in Franny Cummins and I’m looking forward to working under him and playing for the Bulls in 2013 and the coming years after that.”
Manuokafoa, his wife Mel and son Micah have adapted well to life in Bradford and that played a part in the player’s decision to extend his stay at Odsal.
Manuokafoa explained: “My wife’s support counts for a lot and it’s the old saying ‘happy wife, happy life’.
“My son has settled in well too and has made a lot of friends.
“I think the fact that Mel and Micah are happy makes my job much easier.
“I don’t have to stress about them and credit to my wife, she’s a big part of my life.”
Cummins said: “I wanted to keep Nas at the club because he’s a great man as well as being a very good rugby league player.
“It was a massive gamble by Nas and by us for him to come here last year because the NRL is completely different.
“But Nas has proved himself and settled here well with his family.
“Mel and Micah have been an integral part of the club, whether that’s playing touch rugby on Wednesday or just spending time with other families.
“Above all, Nas has made his mark in Super League and I expect him to step up again next season and become one of our leaders.”