Uate takes up lucrative English offer
Sea Eagles veteran Akuila Uate will take up a lucrative three-year deal with Super League outfit Huddersfield in 2019, ending a decade-long career as one of the NRL's most entertaining flyers.
On the eve of his 200th NRL game against the Dragons, Uate confirmed this year would be his last in the Telstra Premiership, with the security on offer in the UK too good for the 30-year-old to pass up.
Last month Manly told Uate's management that their dire salary cap situation would force the former NSW Origin and Kangaroos winger from the Northern Beaches, prompting him to explore options elsewhere in the NRL and overseas.
Despite fielding interest from rival NRL sides, Uate will link with former Canberra hooker Simon Woolford as his first signing at Huddersfield.
"I've recently signed overseas, I'm excited now because it's about my family and we're starting that move from next year," Uate told NRL.com.
"I've let the boys know that I'll be leaving at the end of the year. There's no hard feelings there, at the end of the day they've made the decision for me to move on.
"I'd love to stay but I've got to look to the future for my three kids.
"The salary cap stuff hasn't helped. There were offers here to stay but I think I've done enough in this game now and I'm grateful for what's it done for me."
Uate will exit the Australian game with at least 129 tries to his name for Newcastle and Manly, with his 110 four-pointers for the Knights likely to stand for some time yet.
After 38 games to date for the Sea Eagles, which gave his career a second wind after injuries and form saw him fall from grace in Newcastle, Uate wants to finish Manly's troubled 2018 campaign on a high.
His milestone match against St. George Illawarra doubles as Joel Thompson's first game against his former club, in what he describes as the most drama-filled season of his career.
With a crippling injury toll, salary cap punishments and a highly public saga around Jackson Hastings's demotion from first grade, Manly go into the Dragons clash on the back of three straight losses to sit a lowly 13th on the ladder.
The club's soap opera continued on Wednesday morning with former star Anthony Watmough launching a bitter tirade against skipper Daly Cherry-Evans and ex-coaches Des Hasler and Geoff Toovey on a Hello Sport podcast over controversies around the club seven years ago.
"I love being here, there has been a bit of adversity but it is what it is and we just have to get on with it," Thompson said.
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"It's probably been my toughest year football-wise with so much drama and the Days of our Lives stuff that's been going on here.
"But I've learned a lot about myself and the game… people come out of the woodwork when you're going poorly and want to keep you down.
"They keep you down there with personal attacks, we had one today with Choc [Watmough] going at DCE and it just shows where you're at when you're losing and the type of people that come after you when you're struggling.
"But it's good too, you learn from yourself and you grow out of it."