South Wales Ironmen have been busy on deadline day, signing 12 new players and releasing two.
The club’s record points scorer Paul Emanuelli has left the club for Coventry Bears, who will fit into the midlands club nicely at half-back with Joel James still on the injury list. The 33-year old has been with South Wales for four seasons and has racked up 282 points in 77 games, which includes two tries, 136 goals and two drop goals. His is also third on the all-time appearance chart for the club, behind Ashley Bateman and Connor Farrer.
In his tenure, he has been captain, player-coach, assistant-coach, academy head-coach and even bus driver. He also won two Wales caps in 2014. Emanuelli joins fellow Welshman Zak Williams, who left the Ironmen earlier this month, at the Bears. He said: “Leaving South Wales was probably the hardest decision I’ve had to make for a long time. I’ve put a lot into the club over last four years but decided it was time for a change. “Every time I’ve faced Coventry, I’ve been impressed with the set-up and what they are all about. “After speaking to Tom and Alan it was a pretty easy decision to join the club, their enthusiasm for the game and their drive to improve Coventry is something I want to be a part of. “I’m looking forward to joining up with my new team mates and the thought of being in a different environment is really exciting.”
In addition, forward Ross Price has joined a number of former Ironmen at Gloucestershire All Golds, however Chris Vitalini has had an about turn and has rejoined the Ironmen after initially agreeing to sign for the All Golds. Henry Davies also joins the Ironmen from the Cheltenham area, coming down to the club from community side Cheltenham Phoenix. Joining them at South Wales is former player Alan Pope who made 19 appearances for the club between 2010 and 2014. He has since been playing for West Wales Raiders. There are 10 further new signings from the Raiders in Dan Griff, Harry Boots, Daniel Maiden, Archie Snook, Shaun Tennant, Andrew Rees Spowart, Curtis Ford, Thom Parks, Daf Phillips and Aaron Lewis. Boots, Maiden and Snook are all former South Wales RLFC youth players whilst Lewis and Phillips have already made their Ironmen first team debuts.
Ironmen owner Andrew Thorne and his team have been working hard to bolster the numbers in the squad to see them through the remainder of the season and they have managed to retain a number of the current squad and have added as many quality players as he could in the short space. He said: “It’s been a tough couple of months building up to the takeover both on and off the field. The difficulties the club found themselves in is no secret and as a result we lost a lot of players leaving Phil Carleton the head coach very few options In regards to fielding a team. “I was really gutted to lose Paul and Ross. Paul has been a great servant to the club whilst Ross is a very talented up and coming rugby league player and it’s also a shame to see him leave, especially after witnessing his fantastic performance against Germany for Wales Dragonhearts last year. “However we seem to have stemmed the exodus of players now and hope we can settle for the remainder of the season. We have managed to sign 11 new players, a majority of which come from the West Wales Raiders squad. I hope the lads enjoy the experience of League 1 and hope to see more players from the community game hold their hand up next season. With regard to the players that have left I would like to wish them all the best and hope whatever they have decided to do goes well for them.”