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"Photo: Paul Barkley / Melba Studios "

Newcastle Knights’ winger Josh Mantellato has signed a three-year deal to play in the English Super League with Hull Kingston Rovers.

Mantellato made his NRL debut in 2013 as a 26-year-old and joined the Club’s full time squad in 2014. The 27-year-old represented Italy in last year’s World Cup and is currently the leading pointscorer in NSW Cup.

“I played in the Newcastle competition for six years and came to Newcastle off my own bat to see if I could jump up to the next level in NSW Cup and go from there,” Mantellato explains.

“I had only played for one local club before joining Newcastle so it was a big move for me to come up here, but it was the best decision I have ever made because I got to tick off the one thing I have always wanted to do and that was to play NRL.

“Obviously the opportunity to play regular first grade is better for me in England and hopefully the three years I am over there I can establish myself as a first grade super league player at Hull KR.”

The Club understands Mantellato’s decision to join Hull KR from next season.

“Josh has been a wonderful Clubman and we know he will be a great addition to Hull KR’s roster,” CEO Matt Gidley said.

“We hope he can go over there and achieve his goal of playing in first grade on a regular basis.

“We thank Josh for his contribution to the Club and wish him all the very best for the future.”

Mantellato has valued the opportunity to play at the Knights.

“Thank you to the Club for having faith in me,” he said.

“To make my debut at 26, Wayne (Bennett) went out on a limb to put me in and I am really grateful for the opportunity.

“And to the supporters, you are the best in the NRL!”

While Mantellato looks forward to testing himself in England, he remains focussed on a positive end to season 2014.

“We are going pretty well in NSW Cup, we are finding our feet and hitting some form heading into the semis,” said Mantellato, who scored four tries in Saturday’s Round 22 win over Cronulla.

“With three games to go we can give the finals a good shake, I can’t wait.”