Extended contracts for top prospects

Five of the Vodafone Warriors most promising prospects including NRL rookie Ngani Laumape (pictured) have today had their contracts upgraded for the 2014 season. Photo: Photosport.


Centre-winger Laumape has been signed until the end of the 2015 season while Vodafone Junior Warriors captain David Bhana, prop Albert Vete, second rower Raymond Faitala-Mariner and hooker Siliva Havili will all join the 2014 NRL squad on one-year fulltime contracts.


Laumape and Havili, while still NYC eligible, started the 2013 season playing for the Auckland Vulcans in the New South Wales Cup with Laumape going up another level by making his NRL debut against Cronulla in March when he was still 19. He strung together a sequence of five impressive appearances for the top side and has been named on an extended interchange bench for the clubs 11th-round NRL encounter with the Newcastle Knights at Mount Smart Stadium on Sunday.


Loose forward Bhana, Vete and Faitala-Mariner have been key contributors in the clubs NYC team now running fifth in the competition after beating top of the table Penrith 38-32 last Saturday night.


There are further opportunities for other NYC players to gain NRL contracts but were really pleased with the way all five of these players are progressing and wanted to give them a clear signal of where they figure in our plans, said Vodafone Warriors general manager football operations Dean Bell.


We see them making further progress next year as they strive to succeed in the NRL.


Weve already seen how many of our players have benefited from the change (head coach) Matt (Elliott) has brought to the way we develop our players, especially with Ngani and Siliva being moved up a level to play for the Vulcans and Ngani then going on to make his NRL debut.


Bell said Vodafone Warriors junior recruitment and pathways coach Stacey Jones was working closely with Vodafone Junior Warriors coach John Ackland and the five players in their on-going development to become established NRL players.


Two of the quintet Laumape and Vete are products of the Vodafone Warriors rugby union scouting operation. Laumape played for the Palmerston North Boys High School First XV and also made the New Zealand Secondary Schools team before signing with the Vodafone Warriors, scoring 16 tries in 20 NYC games last season.


Vete also switched to rugby league last year after captaining the St Kentigern College First XV, playing 17 games for the Vodafone Junior Warriors in 2012 and all 10 games so far this season. He was a standout performer in last Saturday nights win against the Panthers with game-high stats for runs (21) and metres gained (176) as well as scoring a try. Vete is the teams leading player this year for most runs, metres gained and offloads.


Bhana, a player with a huge work ethic, was the NYCs leading tackler last year with 957 (an average of 40 a game) and is again high up the charts with 364 tackles in nine games this year. At the same time, hes finishing off a science degree at the University of Auckland.


Faitala-Mariner has made a huge impact as a ball-playing, wide-running second rower. In his last three games his numbers have been outstanding a try each game, four line breaks, 12 tackle breaks and two try assists while averaging 12 runs a game, 112 metres and 29 tackles.


Havili has been a Vulcans regular this year, making just one NYC appearance. In 52 career NYC games he has scored 24 tries.


DAVID BHANA


Date of Birth: January 10, 1993

Birthplace: Auckland, NZ

Junior Club: Northcote Tigers

Position: Loose Forward

Height: 183cm

Weight: 96kg

Rep Honours: Junior Kiwis 2012, NZ Residents 18s 2011

NYC Games: 33 (2012-2013), 36 points (9 tries)

Secondary School: Birkenhead College


RAYMOND FAITALA-MARINER


Date of Birth: July 26, 1993

Birthplace: Auckland, NZ

Junior Club: Otahuhu Leopards

Position: Second Row/Loose Forward

Height: 186cm

Weight: 105kg

Rep Honours: Nil

NYC Games: 16 (2012-2013), 20 points (5 tries)

Secondary School: Edgewater College


SILIVA HAVILI


Date of Birth: February 18, 1993

Birthplace: Auckland, NZ

Junior Club: Manurewa Marlins

Position: Hooker

Height: 175cm

Weight: 99kg

Rep Honours: Junior Kiwis 2011-2012, NZ Residents 18s 2011

NYC Games: 52 (2011-2013), 100 points (24 tries, 2 goals)

Secondary School: St Pauls College


NGANI LAUMAPE


Date of Birth: April 22, 1993

Birthplace: Palmerston North, NZ

Junior Club: Feilding Falcons

Position: Centre/Wing

Height: 178cm

Weight: 97kg

Rep Honours: NZ Residents 18s 2011, NZ Secondary Schools (rugby union and rugby league) 2011

NYC Games: 20 (2012), 64 points (16 tries)

NRL Debut: v Cronulla, Sharks Stadium, March 24, 2013 (Round 3)

NRL Games: 5

NRL Points: 4 (1 try)

Vodafone Warriors No: 180

Secondary School: Palmerston North Boys High School


ALBERT VETE


Date of Birth: January 24, 1993

Birthplace: Auckland, NZ

Junior Club: St Kentigern College (rugby union)

Position: Prop

Height: 188cm

Weight: 110kg

Rep Honours: NZ Barbarians (rugby union)

NYC Games: 27 (2012-2013), 28 points (7 tries)

Secondary School: St Kentigern College