Paea, who has returned to Hull FC in Super League, joined the Knights on a two-year deal at the start of 2016.

The prop made 15 appearances for Newcastle in first season but only five in his second campaign after being told he could leave the club.

From 2015 to 2017, the Knights won the NRL’s wooden spoon three years in a row.

“It’s been tough,” Paea told Inside Sport.

“When you go to a club, you don’t get to choose the time. During my time there, the club was in the process of rebuilding, and there were some salary cap and financial issues. That first year was difficult, and the second year I wasn’t as involved.

“I was told I was not required for the second year, which was heartbreaking. It left me with nowhere to turn.

Newcastle has been on a massive recruitment spree, signing Mitchell Pearce, Connor Watson, Jacob Lillyman, Chris Heighington, Herman Ese’ese, Slade Griffin, Aiden Guerra, Kayln Ponga, and Tautau Moga.

The 31-year-old will return to Australia next month, when his Hull FC team faces St George Illawarra in Sydney.
Paea, who has previously played for the Roosters, Dragons, and Bulldogs in the NRL, is looking forward to the challenge against his former club.

“It’s an opportunity for us as a team to go over to Oz and test ourselves against one of the top teams over there,” the front-rower said. “It’s quite special and I think we’ll be benefit from that for the rest of the year.