Cronulla Sharks have confirmed that they have signed Trent Hodkinson on a one-year contract following his release from the Newcastle Knights.
In a statement posted to the Sharks' website this afternoon, coach Shane Flanagan said Hodkinson was "fully aware" he'd be joining the team "as a back-up" but that the 29-year-old would bring with him a wealth of leadership and experience.
"The opportunity to sign Trent materialised when it became obvious he was going to negotiate a release and his addition to our squad will add to our depth and experience in the halves," Flanagan said.
"He's fully aware he's coming here as a back-up, but these days you need a real competitive 30-man squad with four halves but not only that, he fits our club in that he is a quality person off the field, someone who can enhance our community programs, while his leadership and experience will help with the development of our young halves Kyle [Flanagan] and Jack Williams.
“Plus Origin is sure to cause some challenges with (Val) Holmes, (Wade) Graham, (Andrew) Fifita. (Josh) Dugan and (Matt) Moylan all possibly missing, with our depth and experience crucial during that period of the season."
Flanagan also acknowledged Hodkinson's recent injury woes, saying that he believed the Sharks had "the best high-performance staff in the NRL" who would "work hard on getting his body right and getting him on the field."
Hodkinson, who is expected at training within the next few days, said he was excited to join some of his former Origin teammates - Luke Lewis, Paul Gallen and Josh Dugan.
"They've told me it's a great place to live and a great club to play for," Hodkinson explained. "Those guys helped me along with my final decision.
"I'm happy to be here, to be making a fresh start and I'm ready to get stuck into it.
"Whatever Flano and the coaching staff need me to do, I'm happy to do it."