Utility forward Steve Rapira (pictured) is finishing up with the Vodafone Warriors at the end of the 2013 NRL season to take up a two-year contract with Salford in the English Super League. Photo: Photosport


A member of the clubs foundation NYC side in 2008, Rapira spent two seasons with the North Queensland Cowboys before returning home to link up with older brother Sam at Mount Smart Stadium.


A cruel run of injuries has limited Rapira to just 14 NRL appearances in his three years with the Vodafone Warriors, his 2013 plans ended by an ACL knee injury when playing for the Vulcans in the New South Wales Cup in April.


Vodafone Warriors general manager football operations Dean Bell said the club was full of admiration for the way in which Rapira had conducted himself.


Steve has been a model professional throughout, he said.


The bad luck he has had with injuries has been unbelievable but he has still had a fantastic attitude despite spending so long on the sideline.


We would have loved things to turn out a lot better for Steve and wish him and his family all the best in England.


Rapira is philosophical about how his time with the Vodafone Warriors has played out resulting in him now signing with Salford.


Thats football. Thats the way it works out sometimes, he said.


While I havent played as much football as I would have liked here I love it at this club. Its been a great experience but now Im looking forward to testing myself in England, getting myself right and playing football again.


The Rapira brothers had to wait two seasons but at last achieved their dream of playing together for the Vodafone Warriors in the same NRL match this year.


Sam was in the starting line-up and Steve was on the bench for the season-opening encounter with Parramatta while the following week they both started together in the first home game of the year against the Sydney Roosters at Eden Park (although they have never been in the same side for a home game at Mount Smart Stadium).


With his 2013 campaign ruined, Rapira immersed himself in all realms of the clubs community work this season with a strong focus on the clubs Breakfast Warriors initiative.


He was subsequently nominated for the NRLs prestigious Ken Stephen Medal, awarded annually to the player judged to have made the most outstanding contribution to the community.