Papua New Guinea star re-signs with Whitehaven
Whitehaven have re-signed one of their key players for 2018, Papua New Guinea star Dion Aiye.
It’s a significant re-signing as Aiye’s capture again, on a three-year deal this time, sends out the strongest message about the club’s ambitions next year.
A number of players are believed to have been waiting to see whether the versatile Aiye would commit himself again to the Whitehaven cause.
Haven general manager Amanda Hewer said: “We are delighted to announce that Dion has signed on the dotted line for the 2018 season before he returns home to Papua New Guinea for the close season.
"The club has been quietly working on this for some time now and we have had to face some stiff competition from other local clubs but, in reality, Dion loves it here at Whitehaven and has decided to return.
"After unbelievably missing out on promotion by just one try, we see Dion as being an essential part of next year's set-up here at the Recreation Ground.
“Next year will be just as hard as this year and several teams will all be vying for those top two spots, not least of which will undoubtedly be a re-vitalised Bradford Northern.
“We aim to announce several more signings shortly and, with us only a month away from pre- season training, this is just the fillip that the club needs."
Aiye, who will be 30 next month, first joined Whitehaven for the 2015 season and has become a popular member of the squad.
There was a problem before the 2017 season opened about whether he would be able to get a visa in place. But when that was eventually sorted and he flew back over, he has been a key performer.
In the run-up to the play-off final, he has turned in some outstanding man-of-the-match performances. In the final at Craven Park, Aiye scored the Whitehaven try in their 10-6 defeat by Barrow Raiders.
Aiye joins player-coach Carl Forster, second-row Connor Holliday and hooker Dave Tilley on Haven's register already for 2018.