Paul Turner

Paul Turner 2.png

Whangarei-born and bred Paul immediately appealed as a player of uncommon ability coming through the grades as a youngster.

The Whangarei Boys' High School product came out of the Hikurangi Stags before being signed by South Sydney (along with his brother Lee) for the 2016 season. That year he made eight appearances and scored eight tries for the club's Harold Matthews Cup (under-16) side.

By 2017 he was back in New Zealand, signed by the Vodafone Warriors. He played 12 times for the club's under-20 side that year and added another 18 appearances last year. Adept at either fullback or in the halves, he has taken his number of under-20 outings beyond 35 while he has also been blooded in the Canterbury Cup NSW grade where he has played three times for the Vodafone Warriors.

Turner was in the Junior Kiwis' squad for 2018 international against the Junior Kangaroos, although he wasn't in the final playing line-up.

Signed on a development contract, Turner trained with the NRL squad in 2019 and featured in the Vodafone Warriors' trial against Melbourne in Geelong.
 

mt.wellington

Warriors Orange Peeler
Jun 21, 2012
22,511
Mt. Wellington, Auckland

NRL: Boom debutant Paul Turner 100 per cent committed to remaining at Warriors

Mat Kermeen
18:04, Aug 25 2020
Paul Turner is currently on a development contract with the Warriors.

FIONA GOODALL/GETTY IMAGES
Paul Turner is currently on a development contract with the Warriors.

Paul Turner's path to his preferred position is blocked by Roger Tuivasa-Sheck but Sunday's boom debutant won’t be tempted to walk out on the Warriors.

Turner became Warrior #249 when he made a sparkling debut in the club's 20-14 victory over the Bulldogs on Sunday when playing in the halves but he wants to make his name in the no. 1 jersey.

Turner is currently on a development contract but the 20-year-old is “100 per cent” committed to remaining at the club in 2021 and beyond.

Paul Turner's NRL debut has been compared to the first appearance of Kiwis' legend Benji Marshall.

MARK KOLBE/GETTY IMAGES
Paul Turner's NRL debut has been compared to the first appearance of Kiwis' legend Benji Marshall.

“My intention is I want to stay at this club for however long it is and I plan on playing for this club in the future,” Turner said on Tuesday.

Veteran Australian rugby league writer Tony Adams, aka The Mole, described Turner's first NRL appearance as arguably the best debut by a Kiwi playmaker since Benji Marshall made his debut in 2003.

Turner, who is comfortable in the halves for now, has mostly stayed away from the internet since Sunday to avoid the hype around his debut and he is adamant he still has both feet on the ground - saying he was focussing on Saturday's match against Newcastle just hours after his debut.

Paul Turner played in the Warriors pre-season trial matches in 2019 and 2020.

WARWICK SMITH/STUFF
Paul Turner played in the Warriors pre-season trial matches in 2019 and 2020.

“As the game finished on the weekend my mind was already set on the following week ... it's a quick turnaround so my head was switched for next week.”

His appearance against the Bulldogs could be a one-off, for now, with Warriors interim coach Todd Payten naming Turner on the extended bench for Saturday’s match against the Newcastle Knights at Scully Park in Tamworth with Chanel Harris-Tavita returning to the starting side.

Turner gained his opportunity against the Bulldogs because of the training head clash that ruled out Harris-Tavita and Adam Keighran, plus the recent departure of Blake Green and he has himself been battling a shoulder niggle since his debut but is optimistic he will be available for the Knights match if required.

Making Turner's NRL debut even more remarkable was the fact he had not played a competitive game since the Warriors’ New South Wales Cup loss to Newcastle way back on March 14 because of the cancellation of the reserve grade competition due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Turner was told he would make his debut last Wednesday but - aside from a select few - was forced to keep it to himself with Payten telling media before the Bulldogs game Harris-Tavita’s replacement was a “secret”.

“The coach came into my room and just said 'welcome to the NRL mate' and I was a bit emotional after that," Turner said.

So what's it like when you're told you will be making your NRL debut?

"I actually don't know, everything happened so fast I didn't have time to think."

Turner jumped straight on the blower to deliver the good news to his father.
https://www.stuff.co.nz/authors/mat-kermeen
"After I hung up with him he ended up having a little cry to my mum," Turner said.

The Northland product was still anxious when game day finally arrived.

"It was a big moment. I was nervous the whole day, I'm not going to lie," Turner said.

Despite his lack of game time in 2020, Turner believes his development has been fast-tracked because of being in camp fulltime, due to Covid-19 restrictions, and learning from the likes of Green, Nikorima and in particular Harris-Tavita.

“When I was younger he was always my idol coming up in the 20s grade, he was always the one I'd look out for and hopefully I will play a game with him this year or maybe next year,” Turner said of Harris-Tavita.

Turner, who was educated at Whangarei Boys' High School, was first noticed by the South Sydney Rabbitohs when he was playing for the Northern Swords in a national under-15 tournament alongside Parramatta Eels star Dylan Brown.

Turner moved to Australia to play Harold Matthews Cup (under-16s) for South Sydney the following year before signing for the Warriors in 2017.

Turner, who was a star of the Warriors New South Wales Cup team in 2019 and was named the club’s best under-20 player of the year when he was awarded the Sonny Fai Medal, also represented the Junior Kiwis in last year.


 

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