FORMER Australian player Joel Monaghan has committed to playing for Albury Thunder.
The five-time Test star will debut for Thunder in the West Belconnen Warriors Nines on Friday night with coach Adrian Purtell describing his signing as “massive” for the Border club.
“We’re over the moon,” Purtell said.
“He’ll play for us this weekend which is great news.
“To get someone of Joel’s ability is going to be great for the young Albury players in particular.”
Purtell plans to talk to Monaghan over the weekend about his availability throughout the home and away season.
“It’s all happened fairly quickly and we haven’t nutted that out yet,” Purtell said.
“The first hurdle was to get him registered for the nines.
“We need to talk about his work and other commitments but at the moment I’m just rapt he’s on board.”
Monaghan is believed to be the biggest name to sign with a Group Nine club since Test player Brad Tessman joined Wagga Kangaroos in the late 1990s.
Purtell is unsure what position Monaghan will play at Greenfield Park.
“I haven’t really spoken to him about that yet,” he said.
“He’s obviously a dangerous centre.
“He scored 140 tries from 140 games on a wing for Warrington though so it’s pretty much up to him.
“I think he warrants that respect.”
Monaghan made his NRL début in 2001 for Canberra and spent four seasons with the club.
The 35-year-old then joined the Sydney Roosters for three years before returning to the Raiders where he won the Mal Meninga Medal for the club's Player of the Year.
He finished his NRL career with 121 matches for the Raiders and 44 with the Roosters.
Monaghan moved to England in controversial circumstances in 2011 to join Warrington and has spent the past seven years with the Wolves and Castleford.
Albury take on Goulburn Workers Bulldogs at 9pm in Canberra on Friday night, followed by Queanbeyan and Gungahlin on Saturday.
“It will be fantastic to have Joel out there with us,” Purtell said.