Ligi Sao

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mt.wellington

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A thread to follow Ligi Sao's career as he returns to the Warriors. Hopefully the start of a long future here at the club...

New Zealand Warriors sign Ligi Sao from Manly Sea Eagles for next NRL season
DAVID LONG
Last updated 16:50, July 22 2015


The New Zealand Warriors have brought Ligi Sao back from the Manly Sea Eagles for the 2016 NRL season after letting him go three years ago.

Sao, who was born in Auckland and came through the Warriors' system, will return to the club on a two-year contract from next year.

The 22-year-old was named to play against the Warriors on Saturday but could be suspended for two weeks for a grade one dangerous throw charge on the Cowboys' Michael Morgan on Monday night.

The signing of Sao follows the pattern of other recruits for 2016, with Roger Tuivasa-Sheck and Issac Luke both returning to New Zealand from overseas. The club were also interested in Kieran Foran, Jason Nightingale, Peta Hiku, Jason Taumalolo and Steve Matai.

Sao is mainly regarded as a prop and has begun most of his 15 games for the Sea Eagles this season from the interchange bench. But for this weekend's game at Mt Smart Stadium he was named to play at lock.

Sao started playing league for the Manurewa Marlins, before being initially picked up by the Warriors. He played well for the under-20 team in 2012, but was surprisingly let go and offered a deal by the Sea Eagles.

He spent most of that year playing in the NSW Cup, but made his NRL debut against the Cowboys in July 2013. Last year was a development one for Sao but 2015 proved his breakthrough season.

With Sam Rapira leaving at the end of this season and Suaia Matagi already gone, Sao will add some depth to the Warriors' front row stocks and will be in a battle with the likes of Jacob Lillyman, Ben Matulino, Sam Lisone and Albert Vete for a starting spot.

"We've been watching Ligi and he has developed well at Manly, especially this year with a lot more exposure at NRL level," Warriors head coach Andrew McFadden said.

"He helps our depth with our middle players and increases competition for spots. It's also great to be able to bring Ligi back home."

Sao said returning home was a key factor in his decision: "I've got the rest of this season ahead of me here at Manly but I'm excited the Warriors have given me the chance to come home.

"It's a new challenge for me and one I'm looking forward to. I've really enjoyed my time with Manly and have been lucky to be around some great players but it's going to good being back in Auckland for next season."

https://www.stuff.co.nz/sport/league/70460315/New-Zealand-Warriors-sign-Ligi-Sao-from-Manly-Sea-Eagles-for-next-NRL-season
 
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mt.wellington

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"A lot has changed" - Ligi Sao
Thu 5th November, 02:02PM

Vodafone Warriors TV spoke with former Vodafone Junior Warrior and 2016 signing Ligi Sao during the first week of preseason training.

Sao talked about his return to his old club, a relaxing off season in Samoa and his attitude to preseason.

"It's been good being back home and being at the club. A lot has changed though," Sao commented.

https://www.warriors.kiwi/news/2015/11/05/ligi_sao.html
 
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Sup42

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He must have a good chance of making the seventeen next year ?

One of Mainly's better forwards this year.

Wonder why the club let him go in the first place.
 
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Freddie Futler

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Im all in favour of letting some of the young talent that we have go to an Australian club to experience the different mindset that they have.
Sao is an example of what can happen when they get exposed to the Aussie system and come back here with a more professional attitude and approach to both training and game day.
It is impossible to keep all the talent that we uncover and some will never buy into the hard graft required to be an elite sportsman so if they get that mentality overseas and are then encouraged to return to the Warriors I say go for it.
 
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Jordan G

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He must have a good chance of making the seventeen next year ?

One of Mainly's better forwards this year.

Wonder why the club let him go in the first place.
Was probably looking for an opportunity. At the time we had Packer, Matulino, Rapira (Sam and Steve), Lillyman, and were probably still pinning our hopes on Lousi squared to produce the goods. Matagi was also in the Vulcans that year I believe and by the time the 2012 season ended they probably had an idea on whether they wanted to trial him or not.

Don't mind that he left, it's just a bitch when they don't want to come back. lol.

RTS and Luke are obviously brilliant signings, but this guy is one of those under the radar signings that could come up trumps in a big way. he would 100% be part of my 17.
 
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SeanHugh

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My money is he will be starting by seasons end. He is a beast.
 
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Off The Bench

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Yep My monies on Sao an Vete as our bench props
I'm picking our props to really push it next year ,All
the talk about one big forward will fade away
Vete is a solid prop an by the finals of this season
will be coming up on 50 games,
Ligi played for manly an has some first grade
experience That's not a bad bench
 
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jonno

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Awesome to see a guy who didn't stand out in the 20s taking his chances and making it into the big league...
 
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Iafetas Kickstand Wang

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Awesome to see a guy who didn't stand out in the 20s taking his chances and making it into the big league...
He won the best forward NYC award at the Warriors and was excellent in dominant teams. He would regularly stampede for 150 plus metres.
 
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jonno

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He won the best forward NYC award at the Warriors and was excellent in dominant teams. He would regularly stampede for 150 plus metres.
Year but that's not a standout enough performance to get him a contract here at the Warriors..

If there's one lesson for the youngsters here, it's that the selectors aren't always right. Sao believed in himself enough to kick ass anyway.
 
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mode81

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Sao was definitely one of our best under 20's players I always rated him and glad to see him come home a better player and mature person.

Exposure to the ozzy league system would have done him the world of good it's so beneficial in terms of professionalism

Anyone who doubts his ability needs to watch the game between us and Manly he bossed our forward pack around and got a beautiful offload to set up Trebojevic for a try.. had 3 of our forwards hanging off him and still managed to pop the pass in heavy traffic, that takes tremendous power & skill to pull off.

It's like some of the forumers have totally forgotten him or just didn't take notice.. Similar to the critics who never gave Bodene a chance and he turned out to be one of our better players.

Sao was one of Mehnly's best forwards throughout the season and I expect him to be there in round one if his injury has settled, he's a class player
 
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Jordan G

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Sao was a standout for me in NYC, but I always understood why we let him leave without too much of a fight. In Hindsight it's easy to say we could/should have kept him, but back then spots appeared limited for the foreseeable future and one thing we've always seemed to do (whether right or wrong) is put a bit of effort into helping players find other NRL clubs while they're still fresh in those clubs minds.
 
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Ref

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Sao's in the 17 surely.
Agree with some earlier posts that he was one of Manlys best forwards.
Some class under 20s don't make the step up.
He has.
 
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Weno

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Has a bit of sting on D when he gets a chance to put one on.
 
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eric

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Manly reject and should never play first grade again.
 
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Blain

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Haha wouldn't go that far.. But he doesn't look very match fit ATM, I can't understand why he is beating out Vete/Gavet atm.

TBH it's bloody hard to concentrate these sort of comments to bench/fringe players. You could say this about every player based on last nights performance, this guy earns about 1/5 of what Matulino is on for example, but Ben looked just as lame.

Root of the problem here is alot deeper.
 
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eric

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Haha wouldn't go that far.. But he doesn't look very match fit ATM, I can't understand why he is beating out Vete/Gavet atm.

TBH it's bloody hard to concentrate these sort of comments to bench/fringe players. You could say this about every player based on last nights performance, this guy earns about 1/5 of what Matulino is on for example, but Ben looked just as lame.

Root of the problem here is alot deeper.
Yeah it's over the top haha but I'm still fucking annoyed.
 
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