Taken from www.crusadersrfl.com
Celtic Crusaders go into their three-week training camp next Monday with nine new signings as they prepare for their first engage Super League game away at World Club Champions Leeds Rhinos on Friday 6th February.
The Welsh side's acquisitions include six players with 556 Australian NRL appearances between them as well as two former professional footballers.
Matty Smith and Ste Tyrer both arrive at the club from St Helens and are on loan for the whole season. Both have also played the round ball game at a Premiership club. Smith was on Everton's books as a youth and reserve player while Tyrer is a former Wigan Athletic goalkeeper.
Both players have since excelled at Saints and are prominent goalkickers.
Crusaders other Super League signing is Peter Lupton from Castleford Tigers, a player with over 100 Super League games to his name, who has previously played for the London Broncos, Leeds Rhinos and Hull FC.
In addition, the club have signed five Australians and their first ever player from the Cook Islands.
Mark Bryant, who was born in Cootamundra, New South Wales, the same place as cricket legend Don Bradman, arrives in Wales on a high after making his 100th NRL appearance when helping to lead Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles to the Australian NRL championship after their 40-0 thrashing of Melbourne in this year's Grand Final.
Bryant is a former Australian schoolboy international, as is Lincoln Withers, who along with Marshall Chalk, arrives from Canberra Raiders.
Ryan O'Hara is a State of Origin player with an appearance for New South Wales in 2004. He arrives from Wests Tigers.
The final Australian is Adam Peek who has made 123 NRL appearances. Signed from Cronulla Sharks, he started his career with Adelaide Rams in the old Australian Super League before going to Canterbury Bulldogs, South Sydney Rabbitohs, Parramatta Eels and St George Illawarra Dragons.
And to complete the batch of Crusaders' new recruits, Cook Islander Ben Vaeau has signed from North Queensland Cowboys. The prop will finally play a game in Wales eight years after he was originally hoping to. Vaeau, then only 18 years old, made the training squad for the Cook Islands 2000 World Cup team to face Wales in Wrexham but failed to make the final cut.
Crusaders coach John Dixon said: "I'm pleased with the squad that we've assembled. We've maintained continuity on and off the field. We've retained our coaching staff and the core of players who have served this club so well over the last three years. We've addressed the key areas where we believe that we needed to improve as a club and have recruited accordingly. I'm happy with the squad and collectively we're looking forward to playing our role in Super League in 2009."
News from Celtic Crusaders' three-week training camp can be found in the form of a blog written by the club's assistant coach / football manager Anthony Seibold at www.crusadersrfl.com.
CRUSADERS' NEW SIGNINGS IN FULL
Mark Bryant - Signed from Manly Sea Eagles - Date of Birth: 10/4/1981 - Position: Prop
Mark Bryant was born in Cootamundra, New South Wales, the same place as cricket legend Don Bradman. He arrives in Wales on a high after making his 100th NRL appearance when helping to lead Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles to an Australian NRL Grand Final win over Melbourne on Sunday 5th October 2008. Previously with Canberra Raiders, Mark was an Australian Schoolboy international in 1998. He primarily plays at prop-forward.
Marshall Chalk - Signed from Canberra Raiders - Date of Birth: 13/03/1981 - Position: Utility
Marshall Chalk has been a Canberra Raiders regular for the last four years having notched up 23 tries in 71 appearances. A strong utility back, Marshall's position of choice is either wing or centre but was also a strong contributor in the back row for a time at the Raiders.
Peter Lupton - Signed from Castleford Tigers - Date Of Birth: 07/03/1982 - Position: Loose Forward / Utility
Cumbrian-born, Peter Lupton comes to the club from Castleford Tigers where he has just completed a three-year spell. A utility man, Peter's position of choice is as at loose-forward. With over 100 appearances in Super League, he previously played for the London Broncos, Leeds Rhinos and Hull FC after starting his career with Whitehaven-based amateur side, Millom.
Ryan O'Hara - Signed from Wests Tigers - Data Of Birth: 18/08/1980 - Position: Prop
Ryan O'Hara has been signed from Wests Tigers in the Australian NRL. He previously played for Canberra Raiders, where he won the Rookie of the Year award in 2001. Ryan's first game for Wests was against Bradford Bulls in the World club Challenge. He has also represented New South Wales in the State of Origin in the 2004 series. He primarily plays at prop-forward.
Adam Peek - Signed from Cronulla Sharks - Date of Birth: 05/02/1977 - Position: Prop / Second Row
Signed from Cronulla Sharks, Adam Peek started his career with Adelaide Rams in the old Australian Super League before going to Canterbury Bulldogs, South Sydney Rabbitohs, Parramatta Eels and St George Illawarra Dragons making 123 NRL appearances in the process. Peek's position of choice is prop, though he can also play in the second row.
Matty Smith - Signed from St Helens - Date of Birth: 23/07/1987 - Position: Scrum-half
Scrum-half Matty Smith has been signed from St Helens but he spent the latter half of 2008 on loan at Widnes Vikings. Matty made his first-team debut against Huddersfield Giants in March 2006 and has proved himself as a prominent goalkicker. Before rugby he had a youth career with Everton FC and played for their reserve team.
Ste Tyrer - Signed from St Helens - Date of Birth: 16th Mar 1989 - Position: Centre / Wing
Ste Tyrer comes from to the Crusaders from St Helens. He made his first-team debut aged 17 against Les Catalans Dragons in July 2006 after scoring a try in every game for their under 18 side the year before. As a junior he had to choose between football and rugby league, having been a goalkeeper with Wigan Athletic. Ste spent the latter half of 2008 on loan with Widnes Vikings. He is also a great goalkicker.
Ben Vaeau - Signed from North Queensland Cowboys - Date of Birth: 07/01/1983 - Position: Prop / Second Row
Ben Vaeau is the club's first Cook Islander and was in his country's squad during the 2008 World Cup qualifiers. A second row or prop, Ben has previously been at Brisbane Broncos. His signing for Crusaders means that he will reunite with John Dixon whom he played under for Broncos' feeder club Toowoomba Clydesdales, and Anthony Seibold and Tony Duggan, whom he played alongside. He has spent the last two years with North Queensland Cowboys.
Lincoln Withers - Signed from Canberra Raiders - Date of Birth: 07/05/1981 - Position: Half-back / Hooker
Lincoln Withers has been signed from Canberra Raiders and is the Crusaders' most experienced signing with 154 NRL appearances. Born in Australia's capital, the half-back or hooker has previously turned out for St George Illawarra Dragons and Wests Tigers. An Australian schoolboy international in 1997, Lincoln also played for the Australian Prime Ministers XIII in their annual game against Papua New Guinea in 2007.
Paul Ballard (released)
Gareth Dean (Carcassonne, France)
Philippe Gardent (released)
Jamie I'Anson (Oldham Roughyeds)
Aaron Summers (Central Queensland Comets, Australia)
Ian Webster (Central Queensland Comets, Australia)
Neale Wyatt (Pia XIII, France)