A RISING international talent has already pledged his allegiance to Dewsbury Rams for 2014 – but admits he faces a race against time.
Chris Aiton, of Papua New Guinea, spent almost two months alongside Glenn Morrison’s squad during pre-season training.
But visa problems thwarted the 20-year-old’s chances of playing this term, forcing him to test his mettle at amateur level with Sharlston Rovers.
Aiton, the brother of Wakefield Trinity Wildcats hooker Paul, last weekend suffered a broken nose during the West Yorkshire club’s BARLA National Cup triumph but played through the pain barrier to great effect.
The half-back or hooker has been key to the Rovers’ record-breaking five-trophy haul this season, which includes a Pennine League title and three local cup honours, and is now eyeing a future in the Championship.
Aiton is due to return to his home in Australia later this year in a bid to resolve visa issues, before reporting for duty at the Tetley’s Stadium.
“I have had a fantastic experience with Sharlston,” Aiton told The Press.
“I am going to fly home to Brisbane and get my visa changed as quickly as possible and then I will be on the first flight back.
“The one I currently have doesn’t allow me to play professionally and the only way I can change that is by re-applying.
“I want to trial with Dewsbury again as I trained with the Rams from November to December last year. Glenn is a fantastic coach and I got on with the boys really well.
“Hopefully I will be a Dewsbury player next year – that is the plan at least. I would love that.”
Elder sibling Paul Aiton has taken Super League by storm in 2013 and has been included in Papua New Guinea’s squad for this year’s World Cup, which gets underway in October.
Chris Aiton, meanwhile, has refused to rule out the honour of also appearing for the Kumuls, describing the possibility as a ‘dream’.
“I am hoping to get home towards the end of the year and if I can get everything sorted before pre-season that would be fantastic. Better still I could be back in time for the World Cup. It would be an absolute dream.”
Dewsbury tackle Halifax on Sunday (kick-off 3pm) – little more than a month after ensuring the Northern Rail Cup holders wouldn’t be reclaiming their crown.
The Rams bowed out of the cup last Friday, however, going down 26-16 to favourites Sheffield.
But victory this weekend in the league would see Morrison’s men tighten their grip on sixth spot, with less than nine weeks of the regular season remaining.
Rob Spicer is believed to be back in contention alongside Josh Tonks, who came through his playing return unscathed in South Yorkshire.
Bradford Bull Adam O’Brien is also available for selection, as is on-loan winger Vinny Finigan, though it is understood Elliott Whitehead will play no part despite reports last week suggesting the former England Knights forward would spend time with the top-flight club’s second-tier partners.
The 23-year-old was yesterday poised to put pen to paper on a deal with Catalan Dragons after recently handing in a shock transfer request.