Recruitment Warriors 2024/2025 Recruitment & Retention

Warriors 2024/2025 Recruitment & Retention Discussion
key: T = Team option, M = Mutual option, P = Player option, D = Development contract

Confirmed Top 30 2024: 28/30
Confirmed Development 2024: 5/6

Confirmed Top 30 2025: 25/30
Confirmed Development 2025: 1/6

2025 Gains: Nil
2025 Losses: Addin Fonua-Blake (Sharks)
2025 Off Contract: Shaun Johnson, Jazz Tevaga
 
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Can't see Utoikamanu leaving, his partner has just had a kid and he seems to be enjoying it in Tiger town. Maybe if he gets sick of losing games and wants to win a few could see him moving clubs but I reckon he'd probably stay in Aus.

I think our best bet is continue with the juniors. Zyon Maiu’u has big wraps hopefully he can play at JFH/Leota sort of level, could see a combo of Zyon Maiu’u/Barnett next year with Ale/Afoa/Niukore off the bench.

Got to say Niukore was an absolutely machine in that 2nd trial, he looked unstoppable.
Thing is he can be Jake the Mus in the middle or Nikora-like on the edge. He has power AND speed for a big guy.
 
Can't see Utoikamanu leaving, his partner has just had a kid and he seems to be enjoying it in Tiger town. Maybe if he gets sick of losing games and wants to win a few could see him moving clubs but I reckon he'd probably stay in Aus.

I think our best bet is continue with the juniors. Zyon Maiu’u has big wraps hopefully he can play at JFH/Leota sort of level, could see a combo of Zyon Maiu’u/Barnett next year with Ale/Afoa/Niukore off the bench.

Got to say Niukore was an absolutely machine in that 2nd trial, he looked unstoppable.
Unlikely regarding Utoikamanu for sure, not sure if genuine but had seen the roosters had identified him as a player they will target. Wouldn’t surprise me with JWH finishing up there. Regarding Zyon Maiu’u, this guy looks like a ball of granite and with attitude to boot. Definitely think he’s going to be great but not sure he’s up to solely replacing AFB yet. Hopefully he’s apart of whatever AFB’s replacement is but I think we need another front rower at a minimum. We’ve got Sifakula who looks promising as a middle forward but out for a portion of the season and has been rehabilitating for s a while and there’s TSS, but that would be a big leap for him. Think if Laban was to continue his progression, his size would go some if the way with what his size could offer over Ford. As much as I hate to say it, I’d let Jazz go at this point. Think his money along with AFB’s would go a good way in front row replacement in whatever form and to upgrade whoever needs it.
 
Unlikely regarding Utoikamanu for sure, not sure if genuine but had seen the roosters had identified him as a player they will target. Wouldn’t surprise me with JWH finishing up there. Regarding Zyon Maiu’u, this guy looks like a ball of granite and with attitude to boot. Definitely think he’s going to be great but not sure he’s up to solely replacing AFB yet. Hopefully he’s apart of whatever AFB’s replacement is but I think we need another front rower at a minimum. We’ve got Sifakula who looks promising as a middle forward but out for a portion of the season and has been rehabilitating for s a while and there’s TSS, but that would be a big leap for him. Think if Laban was to continue his progression, his size would go some if the way with what his size could offer over Ford. As much as I hate to say it, I’d let Jazz go at this point. Think his money along with AFB’s would go a good way in front row replacement in whatever form and to upgrade whoever needs it.
We havent got any 6'5 props to replace AFB, Zyon Maiu’u reminds me of a young Ukuma Taʻaii but he's still a pocket rocket at this stage. Still reckon we need to go to market for that veteran pack leader.
 
We havent got any 6'5 props to replace AFB, Zyon Maiu’u reminds me of Ukuma Ta'ai but he's still a pocket rocket. Still reckon we need to go to market.
In a perfect world Niukore and Zyon Maiu’u can handle the job but looking at the other packs of competition, I think we need more. Heartened by SJ insinuating he’d play on in 2025, surely not something you’d do if this year was your one and only shot at a title. Hopefully he knows something that excites him enough to keep playing?
 
In a perfect world Niukore and Zyon Maiu’u can handle the job but looking at the other packs of competition, I think we need more. Heartened by SJ insinuating he’d play on in 2025, surely not something you’d do if this year was your one and only shot at a title. Hopefully he knows something that excites him enough to keep playing?
Yeah bro hope he knows Joey Tapine or JFH or someone like that is coming to complete our pack next year. If not, oh well he still has a good time and gets paid, as long as he's happy.

Still doesn't help win the big dance tho does it. What are our priorities here, it's winning the comp goddam it., doubt we can do it without Fish and Taps. I question their priorities, come home and help us you bastards, Shauny needs you, it's a fuckn emergency.
 
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Win it this year and Shaun literally said he’s going off to the sunset 🌅

Unless we don’t then ya how do we get an alpha with 2 more yrs of Roger and maybe SJ? JT is still the most realistic target for 2025 IMO, Marata, Zyon Maiu’u, Barnett, Ale, Bunty etc starting and JT off the bench you’ve still got a gun pack
 

NRL news 2024: Gus Gould leaks Cowboys’ Heilum Luki signing news, Foran backs Fifita to stay with Titans | Market Watch​


By TRAVIS MEYN
NEWS CORP AUSTRALIA SPORTS NEWSROOM
6:18PM FEBRUARY 28, 2024

The Cowboys have been blindsided by reports from Canterbury supremo Phil Gould that rising backrower Heilum Luki has inked a contract extension with North Queensland.

Luki is one of the NRL’s hottest free agents and being targeted by multiple rival clubs, including the Dragons and Dolphins, beyond 2024.

The Cowboys are fighting to retain Luki, who has a one-year option with the Cowboys in his favour, and last week released Luciano Leilua to the Dragons, freeing up salary cap space.

The Cowboys had a glut of edge back row talent with Maroons star Jeremiah Nanai, rising weapon Kulikefu Finefeuiaki, Luki and Leilua creating a salary cap squeeze.

In his podcast Six Tackles With Gus on Wednesday, Bulldogs football chief Gould declared Luki had taken up the one-year option with the Cowboys.

The Cowboys have been blindsided by reports that Heilum Luki has inked a contract extension with North Queensland. Picture: Getty Images

The Cowboys have been blindsided by reports that Heilum Luki has inked a contract extension with North Queensland. Picture: Getty Images

“They’ve had to make some salary cap decisions there,” Gould said.

“Heilum Luki, it was kind of expected he’d take a big offer to go elsewhere to the Dragons or Dolphins. He had an option in his favour to stay with the club and has elected to stay. I don’t think they thought that was going to happen.

“That will put a lot of pressure on (retaining) Kulikefu Finefeuiaki, who is an outstanding young talent and probably on a much smaller contract than he can get somewhere else.

“They’d have to upgrade him to keep him, but they didn’t have that sort of money available, particularly after Heilum Luki took up his option to stay.

“That has meant they’ve had to move Luciano Leilua, who was one of their big money purchases a couple of years ago.”

While Gould was emphatic in stating Luki had committed to North Queensland, Cowboys football boss Micheal Luck said that was not the case.

Bulldogs football chief Gould declared Luki had taken up the one-year option with the Cowboys … much to the surprise of North Queensland. Picture: Julian Andrews

Bulldogs football chief Gould declared Luki had taken up the one-year option with the Cowboys … much to the surprise of North Queensland. Picture: Julian Andrews

“We are continuing to work through it with Heilum’s management,” he said.

“He’s a priority signing for us and we’ll keep working through that process.”

The Cowboys have assembled a red hot engine stacked with talent including Jason Taumalolo, Reuben Cotter and Griffin Neame to go with their edge forwards.

After a preliminary finals appearance in 2022, the Cowboys failed to make the finals last year, but Gould is tipping them to bounce back into the top eight this season.

“It’s a hell of a side,” Gould said.

“It’s a powerful looking roster and I think they’ve got a great chance.

“If they start on the right leg this year they’ve got the player talent to be a top eight contender.

“I don’t know if they’ve got the premiership x-factor at the moment.

“I think they’ll play finals football but I’m not suggesting premiership at this stage.”
 


First Grader​



Guys, I have a huge gut feeling that this may be Lolos final year. I don't know what it is but he just didn't look right, especially for someone at the end of a full preseason. I guess the first few weeks of the season will tell all.







Was the first time on the cowboys forum I saw someone speculating about Taumalolo potentially on the way out there yesterday morning. There’s concern whether it’s his knee hindering but mostly just that something doesn’t look right with him. Interesting that article I posted on Gould and his attempts on the cowboys players mentioned, with the bulldogs seemingly not bad off in the second row you’d have to wonder if he’s trying to get the cowboys to consider offering Taumalolo. Apparently even with releasing Leilua, the cowboys still don’t have the money to re sign both Luki and Finefeuiaki.
 

NRL news 2024: Gus Gould leaks Cowboys’ Heilum Luki signing news, Foran backs Fifita to stay with Titans | Market Watch​



Interesting also about Foran talking about Fifita. It came out yesterday that Fifita and Tino had a run in at training and these guys had options in their favours at one point, Fifita definitely still does. If he was to go onto the market, that would cause some musical chairs.
 
We havent got any 6'5 props to replace AFB, Zyon Maiu’u reminds me of a young Ukuma Taʻaii but he's still a pocket rocket at this stage. Still reckon we need to go to market for that veteran pack leader.
Zyon Maiu’u was 2-3 years younger than Ukuma Tai but he's never going to be even 80% as good as AFB is right now. He's just not big enough. I could see him being at a similar level to Spencer Lenui by the time he's like 25 (ages away) if all goes well in his development.

I think this thread has been too focused on replacing AFB at prop when we could more than make up for that loss in talent with our upgrades at second row over the next year or two. Halasima could be the best second rower in the entire comp by the time he's 21 imo. Jacon Laban seems to have come from nowhere over the offseason, looks to have really improved his speed work (looked quite sluggish last year imo) and looks like a genuine first grader now.

I think if we're waiting for the next AFB in terms of size, Rodney Tuipulotu Vea in our SG ball side is probably the best bet - would be about 6'2 and a large hulking prop. But props that are the size of AFB with his footwork are almost impossible to find and we currently don't have one in the wings waiting to step in for him.
 
Zyon Maiu’u was 2-3 years younger than Ukuma Tai but he's never going to be even 80% as good as AFB is right now. He's just not big enough. I could see him being at a similar level to Spencer Lenui by the time he's like 25 (ages away) if all goes well in his development.

I think this thread has been too focused on replacing AFB at prop when we could more than make up for that loss in talent with our upgrades at second row over the next year or two. Halasima could be the best second rower in the entire comp by the time he's 21 imo. Jacon Laban seems to have come from nowhere over the offseason, looks to have really improved his speed work (looked quite sluggish last year imo) and looks like a genuine first grader now.

I think if we're waiting for the next AFB in terms of size, Rodney Tuipulotu Vea in our SG ball side is probably the best bet - would be about 6'2 and a large hulking prop. But props that are the size of AFB with his footwork are almost impossible to find and we currently don't have one in the wings waiting to step in for him.
Real shame we miss out on Sifakula’s progression this season and hopefully starts to get back to some nsw cup at some stage this season but he is perhaps the most exciting in my eyes. There’s been a lot of conjecture on here about how big he is now and looking at the latest team picture coming out in the herald, looks as though he stands at around the same height as Rocco Berry at 191cm. That vision on his highlights reel right at the end where he chases that kid down much bigger than him, picks him up and takes him into touch has me so excited about this young guys size he now has to with that determination, he could be something really special.
 
Two former Warriors in the highlights here. Ratuva scored the try and Ravutaumada (sorry for the spelling) created it. Ravutaumada has had a couple of good games. I still look at the Fijian sevens feeders and see unbelievable talent. Perhaps a more stocky powerfully built Fijian is required for league as the hit up requirements are demanding for the out and out speedsters.
 
Real shame we miss out on Sifakula’s progression this season and hopefully starts to get back to some nsw cup at some stage this season but he is perhaps the most exciting in my eyes. There’s been a lot of conjecture on here about how big he is now and looking at the latest team picture coming out in the herald, looks as though he stands at around the same height as Rocco Berry at 191cm. That vision on his highlights reel right at the end where he chases that kid down much bigger than him, picks him up and takes him into touch has me so excited about this young guys size he now has to with that determination, he could be something really special.
Yeah my only thing is how much ACL injuries at that age halt development. Tom Ale went from the clubs best forward prospect (smashing out 200m running meter games for Redcliffe) to not being able to evolve from serviceable bench forward up until now really.

But yeah he some how looks 6'2-6'3 in that photo. Unsure how accurate that is with the angles, people slouching etc but would put him at the same height or taller than AFB.
 
Anyone know what happened to Sanele Aukusitino?

Had great hands and great under the high ball for a 'prop-wing'

Very strange to be removed off the development contract list before the season has started

Maybe long term injury but he also has been in a bit of trouble in the past pre-warriors
 
There’s a young athletic full back in SG Ball who’s pretty impressive. I think we have some good wings coming through and may have a decent fullback in the making. It’s that Pasikala kid. Looks to have some very good potential.
Kid is absolute dynamite. Never seen so many brain explosions though. He could win a match by himself but needs to sharpen up his IQ and get that recklessness out of his game.
 

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