Two of the Vodafone Warriors’ most promising players have had their contracts extended by two years.
Rookie NRL winger David Fusitu’a, off contract next year, has been signed until the end of the 2017 season while 2014 NYC debutant Ata Hingano has been secured until the end of the 2016 season.
The 20-year-old Fusitu’a, managed by Aucklander Stan Martin, had the distinction of playing for each of the Vodafone Warriors’ three teams in 2014 in the NRL, New South Wales Cup and the NYC.
The Peter Brown-managed Hingano became one of the NYC’s youngest debutants when he was handed his first appearance soon after his 17th birthday; the halfback-standoff had a key hand in the Vodafone Junior Warriors’ progress to their grand final success culminating in him being named the 2014 Counties Manukau Young Sportsman of the Year.
The Vodafone Warriors beat off interest from rival clubs to retain the pair.
“David and Ata are highly regarded by our coaching staff and are certainly two players we see having a big future with the club,” said Vodafone Warriors general manager football Dean Bell.
“They’re local products who have come through our system, both of them making significant progress this year.
“David has already underlined his ability at NRL level while Ata showed what he is capable of despite being the youngest player in our NYC side.”
A Marist Saints junior educated at Kelston Boys’ High School, Fusitu’a came into the Vodafone Junior Warriors in 2012.
He started the 2014 season playing for each of the club’s teams in the opening three rounds. In round one he scored a try in the New South Wales Cup loss to Wentworthville, made his NRL debut as a late replacement for Manu Vatuvei against St George Illawarra the following week and scored a hat-trick in the NYC team’s 50-12 win over North Queensland in the third round.
He made only two NYC appearances this year, finishing his career with 21 tries in 37 games. In four NSW Cup games he scored three tries in four games while in the NRL he had seven tries in 12 matches giving him a combined tally of 13 tries in 18 games this season.
Hingano, a Pakuranga Jaguars junior educated at Pakuranga College, immediately impressed in his first appearance against Cronulla in April. He went on to play 16 times for the NYC side and scored 67 points.
Born: October 16, 1994
Birthplace: Auckland, NZ
Junior Club: Marist Saints
NRL Debut: Vodafone Warriors v St George Illawarra, Eden Park, March 15, 2014 (Rd 2)
Club Number: 189
NRL Career: Vodafone Warriors | 12 appearances (2014)
NRL Points: 28 (7 tries)
NSW Cup Career: Vodafone Warriors | 4 appearances (2014)
NSW Cup Points: 12 (3 tries)
NYC Career: Vodafone Junior Warriors | 37 games (2012-2014)
NYC Points: 84 (21 tries)
Representative: Junior Kiwis (2012-2013), NZ Residents 18s (2011)
Educated: Kelston Boys’ High School, Auckland
Born: March 11, 1997
Birthplace: Auckland, NZ
Junior Club: Pakuranga Jaguars
NYC Career: Vodafone Junior Warriors | 16 appearances (2014)
NYC Points: 67 (4 tries, 25 goals, 1 field goal)
Representative: NZ Residents 18s (2014), NZ Residents 16s (2013)
Educated: Pakuranga College