After making his NRL and Test debuts in a matter of weeks, Vodafone Warriors hooker Siliva Havili has today landed another reward in the shape of a new two-year contract with the club.
Off contract at the end of this season, the 21-year-old Manurewa Marlins product joins an impressive list of players re-signed for next year and beyond.
Only four weeks ago the Vodafone Warriors announced captain Simon Mannering, Jacob Lillyman and Sione Lousi were among 12 players re-signed for terms ranging from one to four years.
Havili’s deal also comes just three days after the club announced it had snared Melbourne Storm star Ryan Hoffman, one of the biggest signings in the Vodafone Warriors’ history, on a three-year contract.
“It’s been a buzzing month for me with everything that has been happening,” said Havili, who is managed by Peter Brown.
“I’m thankful for the club re-signing me. Now it’s all about hard work and letting the footy talk.”
Re-signing Havili was especially satisfying for Vodafone Warriors general manager football operations Dean Bell.
“Siliva was actually the first player I signed in my role as recruitment manager,” he said.
“I saw him playing at Mountfort Park in Manurewa. You could tell back then that he had special ability, one of those players you knew would have the talent to go a long way provided he was prepared to work at it.
“I’ve followed his development closely through the NYC and the New South Wales Cup into the NRL a few weeks ago and then making his debut for the Kiwis last week. He was impressive in the Test and looked really comfortable.”
Havili, who played for Tonga at the 2013 Rugby League World Cup, is determined to repay the faith shown in him.
“I was shocked when Dean told me I was his first signing back then and I know he’s excited now for me to be able to continue my career here,” he said.
After making 57 NYC appearances, Havili was signed on a one-year fulltime NRL contract this season.
He started out with the club’s New South Wales Cup side before Andrew McFadden marked his debut as Vodafone Warriors acting head coach by giving Havili his first NRL outing against Canterbury-Bankstown at Eden Park on April 13. He came off the bench in that game and in the next two matches against St George Illawarra and Melbourne en route to his dramatic Kiwi call-up.
Joining team-mates Mannering, Shaun Johnson and fellow debutant Ben Henry in the Kiwi camp was an unforgettable experience.
“When the team was announced I knew there were a lot of critics out there about me being selected,” he said.
“But the feeling inside the camp, the bond we had and the brotherhood made us really tight.”
Havili is yet another St Paul’s College product. He captained the school’s First XIII and also played First XV rugby union although league was always his preference. After coming up through the Manurewa Marlins at junior club level he later played for the Otara Scorpions.
His younger brother Semisi, who captained the St Paul’s First XIII last year, was set to follow Siliva at the Vodafone Warriors but has opted to pursue university studies first.
Born: February 18, 1993
Birthplace: Auckland, NZ
Junior Club: Manurewa Marlins
NRL Debut: Vodafone Warriors v Canterbury-Bankstown, Eden Park, April 13, 2014 (Round 6)
NRL Career: 3 appearances 2014
NRL Points: 0 points
Club Number: 190
NYC Career: 57 appearances 2011-2013
NYC Points: 108 points (26 tries, 2 goals)
1 Test for New Zealand 2014 (Kiwi #784)
2 Tests for Tonga 2013
Junior Kiwis 2011-2012
NZ Residents 18s 2011