General Warriors sign Witt, Ah Van and Rapira upgraded

warriors4life_old

Guest
From nrl.com

Manly utility Michael Witt is joining the Vodafone Warriors on a one-year deal for the 2007 season and rookies Patrick Ah Van and Sam Rapira have signed new upgraded three-year contracts.

In announcing the trio of signings today, Vodafone Warriors head coach Ivan Cleary said the club’s first-grade roster for next season was now almost completed.

“They’re signings that really help us to build depth in our squad,†he said.

“In Michael we have a player who has the ability to play in both positions in the halves as well as being a quality goal kicker.

“And with Patrick and Sam it’s clear we have players with great futures in the game.

“As rookies they’ve both impressed in first-grade football, Patrick mainly on the wing but also at fullback as we saw last weekend, and Sam coming into the side as an interchange prop.

“They’ve looked comfortable at this level from the moment they first came into the side.â€Â

Born on New Year’s day, 1984, Witt (22) has had a lean season at NRL level this year with just one appearance for the Sea Eagles after being used 19 times in 2005.

“With Matt Orford arriving at Manly this year it hasn’t been one of my best seasons,†he said from Sydney.

“I’ve been in premier league all year but believe I can still make a contribution at first-grade level. That’s why I’m coming to the Vodafone Warriors. I want to have a chance of playing in the NRL again."

Ah Van and Rapira both graduated from the Allied Work Force elite development programme to train full-time with the NRL squad this year. Ah Van (18) made his first-grade debut in the round five clash against Manly when Manu Vatuvei was injured; Rapira (19) was first called on against Wests Tigers in May when captain Steve Price was on State or Origin duty.

Ah Van has gone on to make nine appearances since – and score two tries – while Rapira has played four games. Now they’ve both signed upgraded deals taking them through to the end of the 2009 NRL season.

While Ah Van and Rapira are just starting out, Vodafone Warriors newcomer Witt is will be trying to start all over again despite 47 NRL matches so far. Previously a Parramatta first grader in 2003-04, he adds to the Queensland component at the club and isn’t at all concerned about making the shift across the Tasman.

“I made the move to Sydney from home years ago so it’s not an issue to me at all moving away from family,†he said.

“When I came down to Sydney to become a Parramatta junior I was only 16 and had two years playing S G Ball and Jersey Flegg before moving up.â€Â

He’ll also move into an environment where at least two faces will be familiar to him. New Vodafone Warriors fullback Wade McKinnon was a team-mate when he was at the Eels and he also knows Price.

“Like Steve, I’m from Toowoomba. He coached me in the under sevens at the Newtown Lions, which was also his junior club at home, and I went to the same school he’d been to, Harristown State High School.â€Â

Witt’s also well known to the Vodafone Warriors, scoring 24 points against them from two tries and eight goals in the Eels’ 48-18 win at Parramatta Stadium in 2004.

He has an older brother Steve who was also a Parramatta junior before playing first-grade football for Newcatle.

As for the surname – which, he says, is of German extraction – he accepts it leads to all sorts of nicknames and plays on words for headline writers, some not overly complimentary.

“But I’ve learnt to live with it. I don’t have much choice.â€Â
 

warriors4life_old

Guest
Great news, we have a new five/eighth and our promising youngsters are secured for the future. Bring on 2007!!!
 

sebastian_old

Guest
Yeahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.
We're one step closer to a premiership, now we have decent halves, 1st class props & a decent forward pack. Some of the backs aren't the best with Ropati probably moving back to where he belongs, it'll add a bit of class. Ropati is a great centre, he never was/will be a 5/8. Today is a good day because i know if Grant can form a good partnership with Micheal we can can win the preimership. 2007 will be our best chance since 2003 with Price leaving in 2008. 2007 the year the Warriors flew!!!
 

MarkW_old

Guest
Interesting. With Witt in the side he will most certainly get a shot at 5/8. And being a decent goal kicker, one has to wonder whether Martin will be kept at centre. Martin has played pretty well so far this year - but perhaps Cleary would prefer a bigger stronger player like Ropati out wide. We'll just have to wait ans see I guess.

Great news for Ah Van and Rapira.
Blinky has certainly deserved a re-newed contract... and he will hardly make a dent in the salary cap, so he's a great signing all round.
 

blez_old

Guest
Awesome! I was hoping we would nab Witt. Great signing, Scurrah and co.

Move Ropati into the centres, and Witt becomes our primary goal kicking option. Finally we have a goal-kicker who can kick the ball 20 metres.

Nice upgrades for Rapira and Ah Van. They have both been solid contributors, look to have a bright future.
 

sebastian_old

Guest
MarkW said:
Interesting. With Witt in the side he will most certainly get a shot at 5/8. And being a decent goal kicker, one has to wonder whether Martin will be kept at centre. Martin has played pretty well so far this year - but perhaps Cleary would prefer a bigger stronger player like Ropati out wide. We'll just have to wait ans see I guess.

Great news for Ah Van and Rapira.
Blinky has certainly deserved a re-newed contract... and he will hardly make a dent in the salary cap, so he's a great signing all round.

I hadn't thought about Witts goalkicking, hes better than Martin hes a 80% goalkicker, Martins a 75%. Witt hits the ball with more power than Martin so thats probably why. Our oppisistion won't like Ropati back in the centre as they won't have one complete side to target anymore.
 

Tajhay_old

Guest
maybe im the only one who dont understand the signing of witt for ONE year on a rumoured 200k salary.....

we are basically taking him off manly's hands (and his contract).

no doubt manly fans will be estatic.


good to know that ropati wont be at 5/8 though.
 

missing teeth_old

Guest
So the key postions 1,6,7 and 9 will all be Australians. Great. I think i will be supporting souths next year.
 

MarkW_old

Guest
Does anyone know when Hohaia's contract expires?
I can't imagine he'll be jumping for joy after hearing about Witt's signing.
 

JonB_old

Guest
Yeah I don't really like that so much either. Im aloud to not like it as well, for many reasons I think it is a slap in the face to New Zeland rugby league IMO.
It is like any New Zeland born half is writtern off at birth by the warriors management.

Stacey Johns
Robbie Paul
Henry Paul
Benji Marshall
Ben Roberts will end up being good, we don't have to look into Australia for a half I think we have to look harder here.
 

*~*Fa'AhVaN*~*_old

Guest
YES WEVE SIGNED AH VAN!!!!!!!!!! i cant wait until next season weve signed the packer bros n from wat iv heard there great players n now witt, were gonna b hard to stop next season! : )
 

warriorfaithful*_old

Guest
MarkW said:
Interesting. With Witt in the side he will most certainly get a shot at 5/8. And being a decent goal kicker, one has to wonder whether Martin will be kept at centre. Martin has played pretty well so far this year - but perhaps Cleary would prefer a bigger stronger player like Ropati out wide. We'll just have to wait ans see I guess.

Yeah that woulds be the way i go. Have rovelli and witt as the halves and ropati and mannering as the centres!
 

sebastian_old

Guest
In regards to not signing a NZ 5/8 i don't think we had anyone decent on our books so i applaud the signing of Witt however i think the warriors delevopment has been a farce but if they havn't developed & nutured any halves what were we meant to do? Keep Ropati?? Hohaia seems not to be in Clearys plan & even if we did sign a young half this year, it'd take a while to establish him. We should be planning to sign a few young NZ halfs this year so in the future we can have NZ halfs. I think this was the realistic desicion as there wasn't a realistic option for 5/8 next year in our development squad, however i agree that seriously needs to change & we should be more proactive with NZ talent, especially halves.
 

commonsense_old

Guest
honestly the bulldogs do a better job harnessing and nuturing kiwi talent than the warriors do.
 

playdaball_old

Guest
quote As for the surname – which, he says, is of German extraction – he accepts it leads to all sorts of nicknames and plays on words for headline writers, some not overly complimentary.

Half would be a nickname that he has heard before!
 

warriors4life_old

Guest
missing teeth said:
So the key postions 1,6,7 and 9 will all be Australians. Great. I think i will be supporting souths next year.

The key positions of 1, 6, 7 and 9 will all be occupied by Australians at Souths as well unless Vagana plays five/eighth.
 

Skinny_Ravs82

Guest
Not that Aussie debate again. Who cares? Witt's obviously good enough to play @ 5/8, McKinnon is the next best who was on the market list, Ravs was the youngest given a big job to do after PL, and Fien and Gatis are top notices and Hohaia is till very much top of the class for covering three big positions. Aussies arenot the Warriors are makig their intentions very obvious. And we still have plenty of Kiwis around the team so I don't see why people think having aussies is a bad thing. Need I remind you we have an aussie coach, both current and in the past, and have had awsome Aussies for a fair few years. Eg; PJ, Campo..and the rest of them. And THEY NEVER had a problem with playing for a NZ based team.

As for Blinky and Sam, great to hear they'll be around for a while yet. Am glad that we are keeping them long term.

And all the best to Micheal in his move to Auckland :D

Nothing but positveness for this.
 

Murphdogg1_old

Guest
Stoked with Ah Van getting upgrade, this kid is gunna be something special, hes already my fav player and hes only played 9 games, he reminds me on Henz, gotta love that
 

Swanley_old

Guest
Good point commonsense..I've mentioned this before.

Problem with us developing a half is that we had the best NZ has had to offer for the last 10 years.

Hard to keep talent waiting to play first grade when Stacey was around.......

We need to know what type of 5/8 and 7 Cleary wants in his team.

Lance must be happy to play hooker.

there must be someone they have there eye on in NZ for the future, surely there must be someone in bartercard or a youngester who with patience can become a future Warrior halfback or 5/8.
 

Tajhay_old

Guest
witt seems to have been signed as a stop gap measure for the one season. i think we would have chased for a good 5/8 had one been available and coming off contract this year. apparently the warriors had some space under the cap, so they went and got what was available, instead of just leaving that salary space vacant. i believe with his contract being only one year, we will be chasing and chasing hard for a good 5/8 coming off contract next year.

cant believe people whinge about the nz vrs aus players crap again. fact of the matter is that there is noone in nz ready to make the step up to play 5/8 at nrl level yet.

witt at 200k is not exactly good value though. that is around the same we paid for mckinnon....
 

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