Whitehaven have beaten off stiff competition to land a Maltese international prop forward to their ranks.

Dean Zammit, a 27-year-old Australian forward, with a Maltese passport, is the latest addition to Gary Charlton’s side, after Haven saw off interest from six other clubs from within the Championship and League One to capture his signature.

Zammit came through the Penrith Panthers Junior system and has played semi pro for the St Mary’s club in the Ron Massey Cup Competition for a number of years.

He came over to England at the start of 2020 looking to play semi professional rugby in the Championship or League One but problems getting his Maltese passport meant he was unable to do so before Covid caused the season to be curtailed.

Whilst waiting for the issue to be resolved he played for Wigan St Patricks in the National Conference League.

Zammit said: “I just wanted to experience something different. It’s a different type of game over here.

“I’ve had a go in France before but really fancied giving the English game a go. I can’t wait to get going, get ripped into pre-season and meet all the lads.”

He has represented Malta on nine occasions something he is really proud of as his father’s parents are from Malta.

Haven coach, Gary Charlton said: “I’m really pleased with Dean, from what I’ve seen of him. He’s a good aggressive player, who loves an offload. He brings different things to the team that we didn’t have last year.”

Whitehaven chairman, Tom Todd, believes the signing of Zammit is another coup for the club as they mount their challenge on the Championship next year.

“We are pleased to announce yet another Antipodean signing in the name of Dean Zammit who also has a Maltese passport and has played 9 games for his country. He plays prop forward so once again he will augment what is already lining up to be a good pack.

“Dean has played most of his rugby in the Penrith area of New South Wales in the Ron Massey Cup. He has been chased by six other clubs from the Championship and top end of Championship 1 – so again another coup for our football committee – well done Mark and the team.”

The club thanked Luke Strama for his help in the signing.