Recruitment Warriors Player Roster and Recruitment News - 2015

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Updated 19/11/15
Current squad / Year contract expires:

Sam Lisone 2018
Solomone Kata 2018
Tuimoala Lolohea 2018

Manu Vatuvei 2018
Konrad Hurrell 2018

Simon Mannering 2018
Mason Lino 2017
Albert Vete 2017
Nathaniel Roache 2017
Toafofoa Sipley 2017

Ryan Hoffman 2017
Matthew Allwood 2017
Bodene Thompson 2017

Ben Matulino 2017
Thomas Leuluai 2017
Jacob Lillyman 2017
Shaun Johnson 2017
David Fusitua 2017

Ben Henry 2016
Ken Maumalo 2016
Marata Nikore 2016
Jonathan Wright 2016

Siliva Havili 2016 - see losses
David Bhana 2016 - see losses
Charlie Gubb 2016
John Palavi 2016
Sione Lousi 2016
Brad Abbey
2016 - see losses
Sam Tomkins 2016 - see losses
Sebastine Ikahihifo 2015 - see losses
Tomasi Aoake 2015
Nathan Friend
2015 - see losses
Chad Townsend 2015 - see losses
Sam Rapira 2015 - see losses
Ngani Laumape 2015 - see losses
Glen Fisiiahi 2015 - see losses
Dominique Peyroux 2015 - see losses
Paul Tuli 2015
Raymond Faitala-Mariner 2015 Club option 2016

Contracted but length of contract TBA:
Sam Cook - see losses
Viliami Kaveinga
Upu Poching
Herman Retzlaff
Jarrod Tua
Steve Waetford

Sam Tomkins (end of 2015 season release to Wigan)

Suaia Matagi (mid-season release to Roosters)
Brad Abbey (end of 2015 season release to Bulldogs)
Nathaniel Peteru (mid-season release to Titans)
Chad Townsend (end of season release to Sharks)
Siliva Havili (end of season release to Dragons)
Ngani Laumape (mid-season release to yawnion)
Dominique Peyroux (signed by Dragons for 2016)
Nathan Friend (signed by Titans for 2016)
Api Pewhairangi 2015 (mid-season release to yawnion)
Sam Rapira (end of season release to Super League)
Glen Fisiiahi (signed by yawnion for 2016)
Sebastine Ikahihifo (end of season release to Dragons)
David Bhana - (end of season release to Knights)

Sam Cook - (end of season release to Knights)

New Signings for 2016:

Roger Tuivasa-Sheck (ex-Roosters; 2018)
Isaac Luke (ex-Souths; 2018)
Ligi Sao (ex-Manly; 2017)
Blake Ayshford (ex-Sharks; 2017)
Henare Wells (ex-Burleigh; 2016)
Jeff Robson (ex-Sharks; 2016)

Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad (ex-Storm; 2017)

*If anybody has updates to this list, please post in this thread.
*If someone wants to post a list of Warriors NSW Cup and Under 20s squads when they are available I will keep those updated too.
*Players whose contract year is listed in
blue were signed or re-signed this season
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Jerome Ropati announces league retirement


Warriors centre Jerome Ropati has called time on his playing career.

The last few years of the 29-year-old's career have been blighted by injuries and he's been out the last two months with a broken jaw, which he picked up in late March against the Tigers in Wellington.

His contract was set to run out at the end of this season and with the club signing Matt Allwood from the Raiders from next year it's unlikely he would have been offered a new deal.

In the past three and a half seasons, Ropati has only played 18 NRL games.

While ending his playing days, though, he won't be lost to rugby league or to the Warriors.

Chief executive Wayne Scurrah said Ropati would take up a role as a club ambassador for the rest of the season with plans to consider a full-time position for the longest-serving player in the 2014 NRL squad.

"It's the right time for me to look ahead, to consider my family and my post-playing career," said Ropati.

"It hasn't been an easy decision to reach because this isn't the way I wanted to finish. I love playing this game and I love playing for the Warriors.

"I'm still young enough to carry on but the reality is my body is telling me it's time to move on. I couldn't tell you how many injuries I've had but I know I've had 15 operations.

"I've got so many great memories of my time as a player for both the Warriors and the Kiwis. I've also got so many mates at this club, a place which has been such a huge part of my life.

"I want to thank all the team-mates I've had through the years, all the coaches, staff and members with a special thanks to the medical staff who have helped me get through my injuries."

Ropati said he relished the opportunity to stay involved in the game and working for the Warriors off the field.

"I always enjoy my involvement in the community including programmes like the League in Libraries initiative we run in schools," he said.

"I also like working with our sponsors and meeting members and fans. I'm looking forward to being more heavily involved in areas like that for the rest of the season and also doing all I can to support our NRL, NYC and New South Wales Cup players and coaches."

Scurrah said the whole club shared Ropati's disappointment at his early retirement.

"Jerome has been a terrific player for the Warriors and has showed so much courage and dedication in the way he has come back from his injuries," he said.

"Above all he's an exceptional person. We all have the greatest admiration for him and thank him for the huge contribution he has made both on and off the field during his playing career.

"He has always been a fantastic ambassador for the club through the work he has done in the community and the way he has conducted himself. He's has so much to offer the game off the field."

Finishing five games short of joining the club's 150-game club, Ropati scored 54 tries, one of only six Warriors to top 50 tries behind Manu Vatuvei, Stacey Jones, Francis Meli, Lance Hohaia and Clinton Toopi.

Kevin Locke to see out 2014 season with Salford after securing NRL release


Full-back Kevin Locke is set take in the rest of the 2014 Super League season with Salford after securing an early release from NRL side New Zealand Warriors.

Red Devils owner Marwan Koukash announced the capture of the New Zealand international last month, with the 25-year-old penning a three-year contract from next season onwards.

"Today we have agreed terms for Kevin Locke to join us immediately. We are just awaiting his visa."
Marwan Koukash

However, after finding himself out of favour at the Warriors, Locke has now reached an agreement that will see him fast-track his move to England.

Locke, who played in November's World Cup final for the Kiwis but missed the start of the NRL season with a knee injury, failed to regain his place from former Wigan full-back Sam Tomkins which led an alleged fall-out with coach Andrew McFadden.

"Today we have agreed terms for Kevin Locke to join us immediately," Koukash said on Twitter. "We are just awaiting his visa.

"Would really like to thank the NZ Warriors for their cooperation on this and look forward to a successful relationship with them."

Locke has played 89 games for the Warriors after making his debut against Wests Tigers in 2009 and has scored 26 tries over his six-year career.

Salford, who play relegation favourites Bradford on Sunday, are currently without full-back Jake Mullaney through injury and have lost the services of replacement Greg Eden after he was recalled from his loan spell by Hull KR.

Ryan Hoffman happy with his shift to Warriors


Warriors new recruit Ryan Hoffman says it was the right move for him and his family to leave Melbourne and head to Auckland.

Hoffman has signed a three-year-deal with the Warriors worth $1.6 million and he'll team up with Simon Mannering to form what could be a formidable second row from next season.

Hoffman has played all his rugby league with the Melbourne Storm in the NRL, with the only other club he's played for being Wigan in 2011 when he had a season-long stint in the Super League.

It is late in Hoffman's career to up sticks and move to a new country, but he says he's looking forward to the challenge.

"I couldn't be happier with the chance to move to Auckland next year," the 30-year-old Hoffman said.

"I've had a terrific time with Melbourne and obviously I still have a long way to go before I finish here. That's the immediate focus for me. I want to finish well because this club has done so much for me.

"But along with my family, I'm excited about coming to the Warriors. I've been really impressed with the club and the way they have gone about the process.

"I never need reminding about how good the Warriors are. I've played in enough Melbourne sides when we've finished on the wrong side including just a couple of weeks ago in our Anzac Day match.

"They're such a tough side to play against and I really look forward to being part of the club once I get there. I've been fortunate to play in four grand finals so far with the Storm and I'm determined to experience more with the Warriors."

Storm football director Frank Ponissi said the Club was extremely disappointed to lose Hoffman, but he goes with their blessing.

"Ryan has contributed so much to the success of the club on and off-field during his 11 seasons at Storm," Ponissi said.

"We are disappointed to lose him and there's no doubt he will be sorely missed by players, staff and fans, however he will leave on
very good terms.

"We will miss the positive attributes Ryan brings to our club, his professionalism and dedication, which has helped make him a very successful rugby league player.

"We know the passion and commitment Ryan plays with and know he will be looking to finish the season off with his teammates in the best possible fashion.

"Ryan is a Melbourne Storm premiership player and life member and, along with his wife Melissa and family, will always be welcome at the Club when it comes time to say goodbye," Ponissi said.

Hoffman made his first grade and Storm debut in 2003 and has played 229 games in the purple jersey including the grand final winning sides of 2007 and 2009. After a 12-month stint playing in the Super League, Hoffman retuned to Storm in 2012 and was part of the Club's premiership that season.

NZ Warriors sign rookie centre Matt Allwood


The Warriors' connection with Canberra continues to grow with the club signing rookie centre Matt Allwood from the Raiders on a three-year contract.

Allwood, 21, is known for his speed and has made nine first grade appearances for the Raiders since making his debut in the first round of this year's NRL Premiership.

The signing of Allwood adds to an already significant number of Canberra ex-pats at the Warriors with coach Andrew McFadden and newly signed assistant coach Adam Mogg leading the charge.

It also adds to a growing list of players pushing for centre spots including Konrad Hurrell, Ngani Laumape, Dane Nielsen, Ben Henry, Jerome Ropati and Dominique Peyroux.

McFadden said he knew of Allwood's quality from his time as assistant coach of the Raiders between 2010 and 2012.

"I saw Matt come through Canberra's system into the NYC and was impressed with him from the outset," he said.

"He's quick and he's a tough kid, too. It's great to have a young player of his ability coming into the club to add to add depth and quality to our centres.

"It will help make the environment really competitive, which is just what we need."

Allwood said he was indebted to Canberra.

"I'm very grateful for the opportunity the Raiders have given me to play at the club from a junior level and to make my NRL debut with them is something I'll never forget," he said.

"Although I've signed a new deal with the Warriors, I'm still committed to playing out the season for the Raiders and hopefully finishing my time with the club on a high.

"I'm looking forward to working with Andrew McFadden at the Warriors and the chance to continue to build my NRL career."

Born in Scone, New South Wales, Allwood has represented his native State at both under-17 and under-18 levels.

Allwood graduated to Canberra's fulltime NRL squad last season after making 32 NYC appearances in 2011 and 2012. Last year he played for the Raiders' feeder club, the Mounties, in the New South Wales Cup.


New Zealand Warriors losing patience with want-away fullback Kevin Locke

OUT of favour Warriors fullback Kevin Locke continues to test the club’s patience while both parties negotiate his release.

Locke turned out for his junior club side Northcote in last weekend’s Fox Memorial clash against Richmond without the Warriors’ knowledge or approval, putting further strain on his relationship with the NRL club.

The 25-year-old came off the Tigers’ bench late in the first half and played the second half, filling in at hooker and loose-forward, before slotting into the fullback role.

Locke put in a strong performance, scoring a 90m runaway try and having a hand in two others, as the Tigers ran out 52-28 winners at Birkenhead War Memorial Park on Saturday.

Warriors coach Andrew McFadden expressed frustration at Locke’s decision to play local club football and confirmed that he did so without the Warriors’ permission.

“No, he didn’t but we’re working through things at the moment. We’re a little bit disappointed with that but he’s made that decision,” McFadden said.

Locke has signed a three-year contract with English Super League club Salford, to begin after the current NRL season finishes in October, however he is seeking an early release from the Warriors and looking to join the Red Devils immediately.

After a delayed start to the year through injury, Locke has found himself struggling for game time, with English import Sam Tomkins filling the No. 1 jersey.

McFadden said the Warriors are still working through the issue with Salford and nothing has been confirmed yet.

Locke has played 89 first grade games and scored 26 tries over six seasons at the Warriors.

League: Locke's unpaid loan final hurdle to move

An unpaid loan made to Kevin Locke is believed to be stalling his planned early move to Salford.

The fullback last month signed a three-year contract to join the UK Super League outfit in 2015 but has since been negotiating an early release to play for them this season.

Ambitious Salford owner Marwan Koukash is keen to get Locke over as soon as possible and reports out of England suggest he could debut for the Red Devils as early as next weekend's match against Castleford.

The Warriors are comfortable about releasing Locke early but the stumbling block appears to be money owed to the club by the 25-year-old. The Herald understands he received an advance on his wages and needs to pay the club back what he owes before the Warriors release him.

Locke also needs a visa clearance to play in the UK.

Warriors chief executive Wayne Scurrah declined to comment on the specifics of the club's ongoing negotiations with Locke and Salford, but indicated a resolution could be imminent.

"We're still progressing discussions with Kevin's agent and Salford and included in that is him getting the necessary visa to be able to get clearance to be able to go there," Scurrah said.

Scurrah admitted it was possible Locke could play for Salford next weekend.

"That would probably indicate they're pretty optimistic about his visa coming through and if they are that's quite promising, and good luck to him. If he's able to play for Northcote, I'm sure he's able to play for Salford."

Relations between the Warriors and Locke have deteriorated in recent weeks.

On June 9, Koukash announced on Twitter they had agreed to terms with the Warriors for Locke to join them immediately and were just waiting on his visa clearance. Prompt denials from the Warriors were then followed by Locke's insistence that he was, in fact, still tied to the club, but his absence from club training and team lists added further fuel to speculation he had fallen out with coach Andrew McFadden.

The situation took another twist last weekend when Locke opted to play for his junior club side Northcote in last weekend's Fox Memorial match against Richmond, without the Warriors' knowledge or approval. McFadden expressed frustration at Locke's decision to play a club game and confirmed he did so without permission. "No, he didn't but we're working through things at the moment. We're a little bit disappointed with that but he's made that decision," McFadden said.

After a delayed start to the year through injury Locke has struggled for game time, with English import Sam Tomkins filling the No1 jersey.

Locke has played 89 first-grade games and scored 26 tries over six seasons at the Warriors.
The Locke Saga has come to an end...

Fullback Kevin Locke has today been granted an early release from his Vodafone Warriors contract to join the Salford Red Devils in the English Super League.

The 25-year-old Locke, off contract at the end of this season, recently signed a three-year contract with Salford.

Vodafone Warriors general manager football operations Dean Bell said Salford was keen for Locke to link up with the club for the rest of this season.

“We’re happy for Kevin to be released now,” he said.

“It will enable him to settle into life in England and establish himself with his new club.”

Locke has made 89 NRL appearances since his Vodafone Warriors debut in 2009.

“I’m obviously sad to be leaving the Vodafone Warriors but I’m also really excited about the future I have at Salford,” he said.

“I’ve got plenty of great memories from my time here and I want to thank the club for all the support.”

Locke scored 152 points from 26 tries and 24 goals in his 89 NRL games. He also played for the Vodafone Junior Warriors in 2008 and 2009.
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Ikahihifo contract extended to 2015


Vodafone Warriors back rower Sebastine Ikahihifo has had his contract extended to the end of the 2015 NRL season. Image |

Vodafone Warriors back rower Sebastine Ikahihifo has today had his contract extended to the end of the 2015 NRL season.

Vodafone Warriors general manager football Dean Bell confirmed the club had taken up an option ensuring Ikahihifo’s NRL career runs into a fourth campaign.

The extension follows Ikahihifo’s impressive form in what has been his busiest NRL campaign so far.

On Sunday he’ll make his 11th consecutive appearance of the year to almost double his tally in his first two NRL campaigns in 2012 and 2013.

“Seb has been one of our most improved players this season and he’s clearly relishing the chance to play at NRL level consistently,” said Bell.

“He’s a great example of the benefits of the pathways we can provide to our best local players, coming through our development programme, the NYC and the New South Wales Cup to earn his fulltime NRL contract.”

Ikahihifo will start at loose forward against Penrith at Mount Smart Stadium on Sunday (4.00pm kick-off; match day sponsor: DEWALT).

“I’m really excited and thankful knowing I have another year with the Vodafone Warriors,” he said.

“I’ve enjoyed my time with the boys ever since I started out in the development squad.

“This year I’ve been learning so much from the senior players and from Cappy (Andrew McFadden) and the coaches. I’m just doing my best to do the job I’m asked to do to help the team.”

McFadden said the Vodafone Warriors were benefiting significantly from the work rate and attitude Ikahihifo provides.

“Since coming back into the side for the first time this season Seb hasn’t really looked back,” he said.

“He’s made huge progress and has become an invaluable player with his ability to handle whatever role we give him.”

The 23-year-old Mangere East Hawks junior made 43 appearances for the club’s NYC side in 2009, 2010 and 2011, playing a key role in each of the Vodafone Junior Warriors’ premiership wins in 2010 and 2011. He was also selected for the Junior Kiwis both years.

Ikahihifo became Vodafone Warrior No 176 when he made his NRL debut against Manly in Perth in July, 2012 (and was voted the players’ player of the day).

After 12 appearances in 2012 and 2013, his first outing this year was against the Sharks when he came into the squad for the suspended Sione Lousi. He has been ever-present since averaging 41 minutes a game, around 65 metres gained and 22 tackles.

Ikahihifo’s brilliant inside pass to Ngani Laumape opened up Brisbane’s defence for Chad Townsend to score the Vodafone Warriors’ match-winning try at Mount Smart Stadium last Saturday night.

He started the 2014 season by being named in the Vodafone Warriors’ squad for the inaugural Dick Smith NRL Auckland Nines at Eden Park in February.


Born: January 27, 1991

Birthplace: Auckland, NZ

Position: Loose Forward/Second Row

Height: 183cm

Weight: 104kg

Junior Club: Mangere East Hawks

NRL Debut: Vodafone Warriors v Manly, Pattersons Stadium, Perth, July 27, 2012 (Round 21)

NRL Career: 22 appearances, 2012-2014

NRL Points: 0 points

Club Number: 176


Junior Kiwis 2010-2011

Vodafone Warriors, NRL Auckland Nines, 2014
Thomas Leuluai signs Warriors contract extension

Warriors playmaker Thomas Leuluai has extended his contract with the Auckland-based NRL club until the end of the 2017 season.

Leuluai made his NRL debut for the Warriors in 2003, leaving after the 2004 season to spend time in the English Super League where he played for London Broncos, Harlequins and Wigan Warriors.

Leuluai was also in the New Zealand teams that claimed the 2008 Rugby League World Cup and the 2010 Four Nations title.

He is completing a return to form after a three-month lay-off following more issues with the groin injury which ruined last year's World Cup campaign with the Kiwis.

Leuluai said it was important to settle his long-term future.

"While I've had a frustrating season, personally I couldn't be happier being back home," he said.

"I always wanted to come back to not only play in the NRL but to play for my original club.

"I think we're in great shape. It's impressive how much the club has grown since I first started here."

Warriors coach Andrew McFadden said Leuluai's all-round value couldn't be overstated.

"Everything he does is of the highest quality," he said.

"While he has missed a fair bit of football lately he has still contributed massively as one of our captains and through his professionalism and competitiveness."

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NRL: Mateo released by Warriors

The Warriors have granted back rower Feleti Mateo an early release from the last two years of his contract to return to Sydney, signing with the Manly Sea Eagles.

Manly confirmed the signing of Mateo today, along with former Australian test forward Willie Mason.

Warriors general manager football Dean Bell said while Mateo wasn't off contract until the end of the 2016 NRL season, Mateo had indicated he was keen to move his family back to Australia as soon as possible.

"Feleti and (his wife) Michelle have lots of family in Sydney and that was a big factor in his plans," said Bell.

"While he had two years to go on his contract, in the circumstances, we're happy to allow him to return home.

"We certainly wish him and his family all the best for the future."

Mateo, who turns 31 on May 2 next year, was in the Warriors' grand final side in his first season with the club in 2011.

Moving to Auckland after 88 appearances for Parramatta since his first-grade debut in 2004, he finishes five games short of 100 appearances for the Warriors. In his 95 games he scored 44 points from 10 tries and two goals.

While naming Mateo as a new signing, Manly also confirmed stalwart Anthony Watmough's release from the club.

Manly chairman Scott Penn revealed the three big name squad changes when the club also unveiled highly-rated former South Sydney and Chelsea FC administrator Joe Kelly as their new chief executive.

The shake-up up comes following Monday's sacking of general manager David Perry as part of an ownership restructure.

Penn also dismissed talk that coach Geoff Toovey was under pressure to retain his job and said that club captain Jamie Lyon would see out his distinguished career at the Sea Eagles.

Penn added that he was "very confident" that New Zealand international Steve Matai, who earlier this year sought a release from the club during a season of off-field bickering, would soon also sign a contract extension.

Matai is currently committed until the end of 2015 and Toovey is hopeful the classy centre will remain long-term.

- With AAP
Bodene Thompson signed + Jayson Bukuya released.

Kiwis back-rower Bodene Thompson will move home to New Zealand to play for the Warriors after signing a three-year contract with the club.

The announcement follows the club revealing Jayson Bukuya will head home to Sydney, most likely the Sharks, after battling with personal issues this year.

For Thompson, the signing comes at the end of a stellar couple of weeks after he was called into the Kiwis squad for the first time, to replace Sam Moa.

He was 18th man during yesterday's Four Nations test against Samoa in Whangarei.

Thompson, 26, who plays mostly in the second row but can also play at centre, has been at Wests Tigers since 2013 after three seasons with the Titans. He has made 85 NRL first-grade appearances, scoring 16 tries.

The signing of Thompson will go some way to filling the void left by Feleti Mateo, who was last week released from his contract with the Warriors early in order to sign with the Sea Eagles.

Warriors coach Andrew McFadden said Thompson had a great attitude and work ethic, and was a quality addition to the squad.

"From the moment I first saw him play at NRL level, I've been impressed with the way he goes about his work.

"He's an 80-minute back rower who's really going to add plenty to our squad and he'll also ensure there's huge competition for spots. I'm really excited we've secured him."

A product of the highly regarded Keebra Park State High School rugby league programme on the Gold Coast, Thompson played for the Titans in the National Youth Competition's foundation season in 2008 before making the first of 49 NRL appearances for the club in 2009.

The following year, he represented NZ Maori against England at Mt Smart Stadium and was with the Maori squad again when he was called into the Kiwis' Four Nations squad two weeks ago.

Thompson said the opportunity to come home to New Zealand and to link up with the Warriors was "something I always wanted to do".

"I've had an amazing last few weeks, being called into the Kiwis and now signing with the Warriors," he said.

"I'm doing all I can to support the team in the Four Nations but I'm also looking forward to linking up with the boys at Mt Smart Stadium. I'm around plenty of them in camp with the Kiwis right now so I'm already getting to know them well."

While revealing Thompson's signing, the club have also confirmed that second-rower Bukuya had been granted a release on compassionate grounds.

McFadden added: "The past season was a challenging one for Jayson but all we want is the best for him and for his family. While his form suffered during the season, we appreciate the effort he put in."

The Warriors will have a reduced squad when they begin their off-season pre-Christmas training tomorrow.

New signing Matt Allwood will be among the group but most of the club's representative players won't start training until the New Year.
Bukuya back at Sharks
Tue 11th November, 11:29AM

Popular back rower Jayson Bukuya will return to the Sharks in 2015 after signing a new two-year contract.

Bukuya left the Cronulla club to play for the New Zealand Warriors, however he was released from the final year of that contract on compassionate grounds to return to Sydney and subsequently took up offer to return to the Sharks.

The returning Shark and budding poet offered a unique quote in relation to his homecoming.

“Footy is like love. If you love someone, let them go and if they come back, it’s meant to be,” Bukuya said.

And on a more serious note, he added.

“I’m happy to be wearing the sky blue, black and white again and I'm looking forward to it. We'll definitely be a competitive team this year.”

A skilful edge runner when previously at the Sharks, Bukuya will add plenty of attacking potency to the Cronulla forward pack over the next two years, with Coach Shane Flanagan more than pleased to have him back on deck.

“I am excited to have Jayson back at the club. He has many friends at the Sharks and the playing group are pleased to see him back,” Flanagan said. “Jayson’s last season with us was outstanding, which attracted interest from other clubs and I know Jason can get back to that sort of form and add some strike on our edge.

“He returns at such important time in the clubs history and I am sure Sharks fans are also pleased to see him back at Remondis,” Flanagan added.

Bukuya played 59 NRL games for the Sharks over a period of six seasons, before leaving to join the Warriors where he played 17 top grade games in 2014.

He has also represented Fiji on nine occasions, most recently as a member of their 2013 World Cup side.

Still just 25 years of age, Bukuya debuted as a 19-year-old back in 2008, before enduring a frustrating run with injury. Once fit and able to get some consistent football under his belt, Bukuya developed into a valuable member of the Sharks, then Warriors, forward pack.

Bukuya’s return means the Sharks now have excellent depth in a number of positions, including the back row, with Bukuya to compete with the likes of Wade Graham, Luke Lewis, Anthony Tupou, Chris Heighington and Junior Roqica for a place in the Sharks side.

Also adding to the Sharks depth of talent is the signing of highly-rated young Brisbane half back Todd Murphy.

The 24-year-old Murphy arrives via Queensland Cup team the Norths Devils where he was recently adjudged the runner up for the Courier-Mail Medal, an award presented to the Intrust Super Cup’s best and fairest player in the Queensland Cup competition.

With voting conducted by the Queensland Cup referees on a 3-2-1 basis, Murphy finished on 26 points, just three behind the eventual winner.

Murphy, who has signed on for one season, joined the Sharks full time training squad this week and was excited about the chance presented to him.

“It’s a great opportunity for me, a chance to play in the NRL is what you work towards,” Murphy said of his move to the Sharks. “I’ll do my best and see how it goes.”

The Sharks hope to finalise their 2015 playing roster in the coming weeks with further signing news expected.
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St George Illawarra sign former Morons centre Dane Nielsen
Date November 18, 2014

New Dragon: Former Warrior Dane Nielsen. Photo: Getty Images

St George Illawarra have signed former Queensland Origin centre Dane Nielsen on a two-year deal as coach Paul McGregor continues to reshape his roster.

Nielsen, who was contracted to the Warriors, will help to plug holes in the Dragons line-up left by the release of Cronulla-bound backs Gerard Beale and Kyle Stanley and Brett Morris to Canterbury.

After beginning his career at Cronulla, Nielsen established himself as one of the NRL's most promising three-quarters during a five-year stint at Melbourne. He was rewarded with Morons jerseys in the 2008-9 series but has struggled to recapture that form since shifting across the Tasman two years ago. The 29-year-old was still contracted to the Warriors for next year, but coach Andrew McFadden granted an early release.

The Warriors, who are well stocked for centres with Konrad Hurrell, Ngani Laumape and Canberra signing Matt Allwood on their books, will likely pay a portion of Nielsen's wages for next year as part of his deal with the Red V.

McGregor is keen to put his stamp on the club he inherited 14 games ago and ease salary cap pressures. There has already been a big turnover of players including the release of Morris, Beale, Stanley, Sam Williams, Michael Witt, Jack Bird, Josh Ailaomai, Bronson Harrison, Willie Mataka, Shane Pumipi, Matt Groat and Jack Stockwell. In their place come Nielsen, Panther Eto Nabuli, Melbourne's George Rose, Rooster Heath L'Estrange and former NRL players Kris Keating and Jake Marketo.
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Vodafone Warriors sign Pewhairangi
Richard Becht
Thu 27th November, 03:31PM

Former Parramatta utility Api Pewhairangi, a New Zealand Maori representative who played for Ireland at the 2013 Rugby League World Cup, has joined the Vodafone Warriors on a one-year NRL contract.

After making four NRL appearances for the Eels in 2013, the 22-year-old Palmerston North-born Pewhairangi spent the 2014 season playing New South Wales Cup football with feeder club Wentworthville.

A decision to register for Vodafone Warriors’ New South Wales Cup trial last month has given him a new rugby league destination after he switched from rugby union as a teenager.

“We were well aware of Api’s ability after watching him come through the NYC and New South Wales Cup as well as playing some NRL football for the Eels,” said Vodafone Warriors general manager football Dean Bell.

“He was a real standout at our New South Wales Cup trial. We immediately invited him to join our squad for offseason training and he has continued to make a big impression which has now resulted in him being contracted.

“He has played in the centres but we like the look of him in the halves where he will definitely add to our depth.”

Pewhairangi, fluent in Te Reo, played three games in the centres and one at standoff for the Eels in 2013.

He played rugby union in Manawatu but switched to rugby league at the age of 17, forging a future in the code when he moved to Wellington and joined the Te Aroha Eels.

Signed by the Newcastle Knights in 2009 he played for the club’s NYC side from 2010-2012 – he was captain in 2012 – and also played in the Knights’ NRL trial against the Vodafone Warriors at Wingham Park in Greymouth in 2011.

Switching to Parramatta for the 2013 season, Pewhairangi appeared for the club at the Dick Smith NRL Auckland Nines, made his NRL debut and also gained selection in the Ireland side for the Rugby League World Cup, qualifying through his Irish grandmother. He played two of Ireland’s three matches, used in the centres against Fiji and England having represented New Zealand Maori since 2011 and the Junior Kiwis in 2012.

Utility Steve Waetford, who captained the Vodafone Warriors’ New South Wales Cup side this year, has been re-signed this week. Also re-signed recently were fellow 2014 NSW Cup regulars Albert Vete, Nathaniel Peteru, Sam Cook, Upu Poching and Jarrod Tua while Vodafone Junior Warriors Viliami Kaveinga and Mason Lino have been added to the NRL squad along with prop Herman Retzlaff; Lino was originally set to take up a contract with Carcassonne in France but has since been signed after undergoing shoulder surgery.

The Vodafone Warriors’ wider NRL squad (including New South Wales Cup players) is: Bradley Abbey, Matthew Allwood, David Bhana, Sam Cook, Ray Faitala-Mariner, Glen Fisiiahi, Nathan Friend, David Fusitua, Charlie Gubb, Siliva Havili, Ben Henry, Ryan Hoffman, Konrad Hurrell, Sebastine Ikahihifo, Shaun Johnson, Solomone Kata, Viliami Kaveinga, Ngani Laumape, Thomas Leuluai, Jacob Lillyman, Mason Lino, Sam Lisone, Tuimoala Lolohea, Sione Lousi, Simon Mannering, Suaia Matagi, Ben Matulino, Ken Maumalo, John Palavi, Nathaniel Peteru, Api Pewhairangi, Dominque Peyroux, Upu Poching, Sam Rapira, Herman Retzlaff, Bodene Thompson, Sam Tomkins, Chad Townsend, Jarrod Tua, Manu Vatuvei, Albert Vete, Steve Waetford.
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NZ Warriors sign Jonathan Wright from Cronulla Sharks
Last updated 23:00, December 2 2014

The Warriors have signed experienced Sharks outside back Jonathan Wright on a one-year contract for the 2015 NRL season.

The club announced today that the rangy 27-year-old centre come winger had spurned offers from the Bulldogs and South Sydney to come to Auckland.

Wright has featured in three finals campaigns for three clubs including a grand final appearance for the Bulldogs against the Storm in 2012.

He joins the Warriors with a total of 91 first grade appearances since his debut in 2009, 41 of them for the Sharks over the past two seasons, and will provide experience alongside Manu Vatuvei, to what is a largely youthful Warriors back line, especially since the departure of Dane Nielsen.

Warriors coach Andrew McFadden said Wright provided both experience and versatility in the backs.

"He's an established and really reliable player who has also played a lot of finals football as well as a grand final."

Warriors general manager of football Dean Bell said the club was pleased to have secured Wright.

"His experience is important for us as we look to boost our depth and cover in the outside backs for next season."

Born in the New South Wales country town of Gilgandra, Wright will become a Warrior again after starting his career as a junior with the Northern Lake Warriors.

Later signed by Newcastle, he played Jersey Flegg football for the Knights before moving to the Eels in 2009.

Wright started in the New South Wales Cup side for Parramatta before making his NRL debut midway through the season and going on to play a role in the Eels' run to the grand final against the Storm.

He was in the centres for the finals wins against St George Illawarra and Gold Coast – scoring a try against the Titans – but missed out on the grand final when Krisnan Inu returned from injury.

After joining the Bulldogs in 2011 he had his most successful first-grade campaign in 2012 when he appeared in each of the club's 27 games.

He started in the centres but played the bulk of the season on the wing, scoring 14 tries in all.

He switched to the Sharks in 2013 and again tasted finals football, lining up in the centres for their win against North Queensland and their loss to Manly.
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New contracts for Fusitu'a and Hingano
Fri 12th December, 01:51PM

Two of the Vodafone Warriors’ most promising players have had their contracts extended by two years.

Rookie NRL winger David Fusitua, off contract next year, has been signed until the end of the 2017 season while 2014 NYC debutant Ata Hingano has been secured until the end of the 2016 season.

The 20-year-old Fusitua, managed by Aucklander Stan Martin, had the distinction of playing for each of the Vodafone Warriors’ three teams in 2014 in the NRL, New South Wales Cup and the NYC.
The Peter Brown-managed Hingano became one of the NYC’s youngest debutants when he was handed his first appearance soon after his 17th birthday; the halfback-standoff had a key hand in the Vodafone Junior Warriors’ progress to their grand final success culminating in him being named the 2014 Counties Manukau Young Sportsman of the Year.

The Vodafone Warriors beat off interest from rival clubs to retain the pair.
“David and Ata are highly regarded by our coaching staff and are certainly two players we see having a big future with the club,” said Vodafone Warriors general manager football Dean Bell.

“They’re local products who have come through our system, both of them making significant progress this year.

“David has already underlined his ability at NRL level while Ata showed what he is capable of despite being the youngest player in our NYC side.”

A Marist Saints junior educated at Kelston Boys’ High School, Fusitua came into the Vodafone Junior Warriors in 2012.
He started the 2014 season playing for each of the club’s teams in the opening three rounds. In round one he scored a try in the New South Wales Cup loss to Wentworthville, made his NRL debut as a late replacement for Manu Vatuvei against St George Illawarra the following week and scored a hat-trick in the NYC team’s 50-12 win over North Queensland in the third round.

He made only two NYC appearances this year, finishing his career with 21 tries in 37 games. In four NSW Cup games he scored three tries in four games while in the NRL he had seven tries in 12 matches giving him a combined tally of 13 tries in 18 games this season.

Hingano, a Pakuranga Jaguars junior educated at Pakuranga College, immediately impressed in his first appearance against Cronulla in April. He went on to play 16 times for the NYC side and scored 67 points.

DAVID Fusitua

Born: October 16, 1994

Birthplace: Auckland, NZ

Position: Wing/Fullback/Centre

Height: 189cm

Weight: 98kg
Junior Club: Marist Saints

NRL Debut: Vodafone Warriors v St George Illawarra, Eden Park, March 15, 2014 (Rd 2)

Club Number: 189

NRL Career: Vodafone Warriors | 12 appearances (2014)

NRL Points: 28 (7 tries)

NSW Cup Career: Vodafone Warriors | 4 appearances (2014)
NSW Cup Points: 12 (3 tries)

NYC Career: Vodafone Junior Warriors | 37 games (2012-2014)

NYC Points: 84 (21 tries)

Representative: Junior Kiwis (2012-2013), NZ Residents 18s (2011)

Educated: Kelston Boys’ High School, Auckland


Born: March 11, 1997

Birthplace: Auckland, NZ

Position: Halfback/Standoff

Height: 182cm

Weight: 84kg
Junior Club: Pakuranga Jaguars

NYC Career: Vodafone Junior Warriors | 16 appearances (2014)

NYC Points: 67 (4 tries, 25 goals, 1 field goal)

Representative: NZ Residents 18s (2014), NZ Residents 16s (2013)

Educated: Pakuranga College
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Updated to include extensions:

Konrad Hurrell 2018

Hurrell signed until end of 2018
Thu 19th March, 04:53PM

Powerhouse centre Konrad Hurrell has today recommitted to the Vodafone Warriors after signing a new contract to the end of the 2018 NRL season.

The 23-year-old, who’s in just his fifth season in rugby league, quickly won a reputation as one of the game’s most destructive ball runners.

In each of his first three NRL campaigns he has consistently featured among the club’s leading try-scorers with 37 tries in just 57 appearances.

While he’s sidelined with a knee injury for this weekend’s third-round clash against the Parramatta Eels at Mount Smart Stadium (5.00pm kick-off), Hurrell’s ecstatic about his deal.

“I’m so happy to be staying with the Vodafone Warriors,” said Hurrell.

“They brought me into rugby league and I’m so pleased I made the change. I’m having fun playing the game, trying to become a better player and being with the boys.

“This is the only club I want to be with. I love it here.”

Vodafone Warriors head coach Andrew McFadden said retaining Hurrell was another critical step in building the club’s NRL squad.

“Konrad has a huge role to play for us,” he said.

“We saw how much he developed his game last year and there’s still a lot of improvement in him. Koni has made a real impact in the NRL and we know there’s a lot more to come.”

Managed by Richard White and Amon Ta'Akimoeaka from Inventus Sports Management, Hurrell was scouted by the Vodafone Warriors from rugby union in 2010 when he was playing for Auckland Grammar School’s First XV.

He was an instant success in his one and only season in the NYC, scoring 22 tries in 21 games including a double in the Vodafone Junior Warriors’ grand final win in 2011.

In his debut season he finished with 12 tries in 17 appearances, 11 of them in a seven-game streak including a hat-trick against Gold Coast. In 2013 he scored 13 tries in 20 games and 12 in 19 last year.


Date of Birth: August 05, 1991

Birthplace: Tofoa, Tonga

Junior Club: Mount Albert Lions

Position: Centre

Height: 183cm

Weight: 105kg

Other Teams: Vodafone Junior Warriors (NYC), Vodafone Warriors (NSW Cup), Auckland Vulcans (NSW Cup)

Rep Honours: 3 Tests for Tonga 2013, World Cup 2013

Club Number: 172

NRL Debut: Vodafone Warriors v Manly, Eden Park, March 04, 2012 (Round 1)

NRL Career: 57 appearances, 2012-2015

NRL Points: 148 (37 tries)

NYC Debut: Vodafone Junior Warriors v Sydney Roosters, Mount Smart Stadium, April 19, 2011 (Round 5)

NYC Career: 21 appearances, 2011

NYC Points: 88 (22 tries)

Secondary School: Auckland Grammar School and Tonga High School

Ben Matulino 2017

ANNOUNCEMENT | Matulino's new contract
Thu 5th February, 09:34PM

Front rower Ben Matulino has given the Vodafone Warriors’ 2015 NRL campaign a huge boost today by re-committing to the club on a new two-year contract which will keep him at Mount Smart Stadium until the end of the 2017 season.

The deal will enable the 26-year-old Wellingtonian to join the select group of players who have represented the Vodafone Warriors across 10 NRL seasons.

Now entering his eighth campaign, Matulino last year became only the 10th player to have appeared in 150 NRL games for the club; Sam Rapira (169) is the only front rower ahead of him.

Named the club’s player of the year in 2012, Matulino said he was delighted he’d be staying in Auckland for at least another two years.

“I’m really pleased to have my future sorted out now before the season starts,” he said.

“There was interest from other clubs but this is where I want to be.

“The Vodafone Warriors have done so much for me and I owe them for the support.

“I really like the culture Cappy (head coach Andrew McFadden) is building and feel our future is looking good. That’s something I want to be a part of.

“This is also a great group of players to be around, the ones who have been there all the way along like Simon (Mannering), Manu (Vatuvei) and Sam (Rapira) as well as the young players coming through.”

McFadden said extending Matulino’s time with the club was critical to building the squad.

“Ben has great standing as one of the best front rowers in the game today,” he said.

“He’s also a fantastic advertisement for our development system and for the NYC, the way he has come through to achieve so much at both NRL and international level.

“It was really important for us to extend Ben’s time with us. He has so much more to offer and is a real key to our future.”

Matulino has been a trailblazer for the NRL, a foundation player in the NYC’s inaugural season in 2008 who was soon promoted to the NRL. He made his debut as a 19-year-old and has gone on to create history as the first NYC graduate to play his 100th NRL game (in 2012) and also the first to reach 150 appearances, which he did against the Roosters last year.

After playing his junior football for the Te Aroha Eels in Wellington, Matulino has also gone on to play 19 Tests for the Kiwis. He helped the Kiwis to their win over the Kangaroos in the 2010 Four Nations final in Brisbane but was ruled out of last year’s successful campaign.

Matulino was initially used as a second rower and reprised that role several times last season but most of his career has been in the front row as a starting prop or an interchange option.

He relished his most productive try-scoring season in 2014, scoring four tries to lift his career tally to 13.


Date of Birth | January 03, 1989

Birthplace | Lower Hutt, New Zealand

Junior Club | Te Aroha Eels (Wellington)

Position | Prop/Second Row

Height | 193cm

Weight | 107kg

Other Teams | Vodafone Junior Warriors (NYC), Wellington Orcas, Randwick Kingfishers (Wellington)

Rep Honours | 19 Tests for Kiwis 2009-2013, Four Nations 2009-2011

Club Number | 142

NRL Debut | Vodafone Warriors v Cronulla, Toyota Stadium, June 14, 2008 (Round 14)

NRL Career | 152 appearances, 2008-2014

NRL Points | 52 (13 tries)

NYC Debut | Vodafone Junior Warriors v Parramatta, March 23, 2008 (Round 2)

NYC Career | 13 appearances, 2008-2009

NYC Points | 8 (2 tries)

Secondary School | St Bernard’s College (Wellington)

Albert Vete and Nathaniel Peteru 2015

Propping duo signed for 2015
Richard Becht
Sat 21st February, 10:22AM

Albert Vete has been rewarded with a fulltime NRL contract for impressive efforts in the offseason and in preseason trials . Image |

Young props Nathaniel Peteru and Albert Vete have both been signed on one-year contracts for the Vodafone Warriors’ 2015 NRL season.

It’s a boost for the duo as they prepare for today’s inter-squad trial between the NRL and New South Wales Cup sides at Bruce Pulman Park in Papakura.

After playing for the Vodafone Warriors’ New South Wales Cup side last year, Peteru (23) and Vete (22) began the offseason campaign in November on trial.

Both earned plaudits for their performances in the February 7 NRL trial against Gold Coast in Toowomba.

Last weekend Vete was on the interchange for the Vodafone Warriors’ NRL trial against Penrith in Rotorua last Saturday. He impressed with his all-round efforts, notably supporting a Sam Lisone break and linking with Shaun Johnson for the halfback’s match-sealing try in the side’s 18-4 victory.

Peteru scored a try for the New South Wales Cup squad in their 36-14 trial win against the Vodafone Junior Warriors in Glen Eden last Sunday.

Peteru and Vete have both come through the club’s NYC team.

Peteru played 21 times in 2011 and 2012 before progressing to the club’s wider NRL squad, featuring for the Auckland Vulcans in the NSW Cup in 2013 and then the Vodafone Warriors’ NSW Cup side last year.

Vete was originally signed after an outstanding schoolboy rugby union career. He captained St Kentigern College’s First XV to victory in the Auckland competition in 2011 and then switched to rugby league, making 37 NYC games in 2012 and 2013. His career at that level ended with a try-scoring appearance in the club’s grand final loss to Penrith in 2013. He also made NSW Cup appearances for the Vulcans in 2013 before joining the Vodafone Warriors’ squad last season, establishing himself as a regular for the side making 19 appearances.


Date of Birth: January 01, 1992

Birthplace: Auckland, NZ

Junior Club: Glenora Bears

Position: Prop

Height: 190cm

Weight: 106kg

Rep Honours: Nil

Previous Clubs: Auckland Vulcans

First-Grade Debut: Yet to make debut

NYC Career: 21 games for Vodafone Junior Warriors (2011-2012), 4 points (1 try)

NSW Cup: 9 games for Vodafone Warriors (2014), 4 points (1 try)

Secondary School: Kelston Boys’ High School


Date of Birth: 24/01/1993

Birthplace: Auckland, NZ

Junior Club: St Kentigern College (rugby union)

Position: Prop

Height: 188cm

Weight: 110kg

Rep Honours: Junior Kiwis (2013)

Previous Clubs: Auckland Vulcans

First-Grade Debut: Yet to make debut

NYC Career: 37 games for Vodafone Junior Warriors (2012-2013), 56 points (14 tries)

NSW Cup: 19 games for Vodafone Warriors (2014), 8 points (2 tries)

Secondary School: St Kenitgern College
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