Vodafone Junior Warriors prop James Taylor has been given the opportunity to take up a contract with the Newcastle Knights with immediate effect.
The 19-year-old was signed to join Newcastle at end of this season but this week he and his new club asked for an earlier release.
Vodafone Warriors general manager football Dean Bell said the club wouldn’t stand in the 19-year-old’s way.
“It’s a great opportunity for James,” he said.
“The Knights want him to train with their NRL squad right now and we’re really pleased to let him take up the chance.
“He certainly goes with our very best wishes having given us tremendous service in the NYC and also with his off-field work as one of our community development officers.”
Bell said the Vodafone Warriors had a plentiful supply of props including Taylor’s NYC team-mate Sam Lisone, who has just been signed on a fulltime NRL contract for 2015 and 2016.
Taylor said he was sad to leave the club but also excited about his future.
“I have nothing but great memories of my time at the Vodafone Warriors,” he said.
“I’ve loved it here coming up through the development squad and playing in the NYC the last three seasons. I’ve played in a grand final and have also made some great friends.
“I can’t thank the club enough for everything it has done for me here and I’m really grateful for the chance to take up this opportunity now.”
Taylor played his 35th and last match for the Vodafone Junior Warriors in their 54-0 victory over Canberra at Eden Park last Saturday. The Northcote Tigers junior scored five tries and played for the Junior Kiwis against the Junior Kangaroos last year.
“He has done a great job for our side over three seasons,” said Vodafone Junior Warriors coach Stacey Jones.
“We really appreciate the effort he has put in on and off the field.”
Taylor will be in line to line up for his new club against the Vodafone Warriors as soon as June 1 when Newcastle comes to Auckland for a tripleheader involving the club’s NRL, NYC and New South Wales Cup sides.