Catalans Dragons sign Paul Aiton from Leeds Rhinos
Last Updated: 05/08/15 5:06pm
Leeds Rhinos hooker Paul Aiton has signed for Catalans Dragons on a three-year contract from the start of the 2016 season.
The 30-year-old conceded the prospect of moving to France was a major factor in his decision to leave Leeds.
Aiton said: “I am looking forward to the challenge of joining Catalans and a new lifestyle in Perpignan.
“I will always be honoured to have played for Leeds Rhinos but the opportunity to move to France from next season and be part of the Dragons was something that excited me at this stage in my career.
“Now that my future is sorted, my sole focus is on finishing this season in the best possible fashion and hopefully helping the Rhinos make more history."
Aiton started his career at Penrith in 2006 where he spent three seasons before joining Cronulla in 2010.
After 108 NRL games, Aiton decided to join Wakefield in the Super League in 2012. During his spell with the Wildcats he won the club’s 2013 Player of the Year award, before moving to Leeds in 2014, winning the Challenge Cup winners medal in his first season at the club.
Aiton was named in the Papua New Guinea training squad for the 2008 Rugby League World Cup and captained them in the 2010 Four Nations tournament.
Catalans head coach Laurent Frayssinous believes Aiton’s experience will be vital, with Ian Henderson leaving the club at the end of the campaign.
Frayssinous said: "I’m delighted that Paul has chosen to join us from next season.
“He will bring his experience, his qualities in attack and his attitude in defence. With a player like Ian Henderson leaving the club at the end of the season, it was important for us to replace him by a player of Paul's calibre.
“He has become one of the players in Super League that sets the benchmark in his position.”