Melbourne Storm can confirm four changes to our NRL squad ahead of the June 30 signing deadline.
Tongan international Solomone Kata and Gold Coast Titans forward Max King have signed with Storm, talented young hooker Harry Grant has been promoted to our top 30 squad, while Scott Drinkwater has been released from his contract to continue his career with the North Queensland Cowboys.
Kata and King will join Melbourne for training this week with their signings until the end of the 2020 season taking place with immediate effect.
Kata comes to Melbourne following a 93-game career with the NZ Warriors, which included 46 tries and a finals appearance in 2018.
In his first two NRL seasons in 2015 and 2016, the 24-year-old was the Warriors’ leading try-scorer with 12 and 15 tries - a total of 27 in 45 games.
He has played six Tests for Tonga, including the weekend’s Oceania Cup match, and five for the New Zealand Kiwis.
King tallied 38 NRL games for the Gold Coast Titans.
A West Maitland junior, he made his NRL debut in round three of the 2017 season and has played nine NRL matches in 2019.
He comes from a family which has had strong connections with the top level of the game in Australia for eight decades.
King's great-grandfather, Cec, played for the South Sydney Rabbitohs from 1945-46, his grandfather, Johnny, was a seven-time premiership winner with the St George Dragons and his father, David, played for the Gold Coast Seagulls from 1991-92.
Storm General Manager – Football Frank Ponissi said Kata and King would add good balance to the NRL squad.
"We are delighted to be able to sign two players of Solomone and Max’s calibre and thank the Warriors and Titans for allowing them to join us before the June 30 deadline," he said.
"We’re also very pleased to promote the Intrust Super Cup’s best player of the past two seasons, Harry Grant, to our top 30 squad.
"Harry has been part of our system for some time and his NRL contract is a great reward for the dedication he has put into improving his game.
"We expect he will have a bright future here in Melbourne."
Grant, 21, made his NRL debut for Melbourne last year and has been signed until the end of 2020.
He is a former RLPA NYC Player of the Year as well as Storm’s 2017 NYC Player of the Year.
"It’s also important to acknowledge Scott Drinkwater’s contribution to our club on and off the field as he starts the next chapter in his NRL career," Ponissi said.
"He heads to the Cowboys with our best wishes.
"While we were reluctant to release Scott, he had already signed with the Cowboys in 2020 and the opportunity was there for him to get game time in their first grade side straight away."