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Club legend Ali Lauitiiti is back where it all started for him 17 years ago, reunited with the Vodafone Warriors at Mount Smart Stadium.

After arriving back in Auckland with his wife and their four daughters on Thursday, the 36-year-old fan favourite walked into the club's headquarters on Friday morning to get fully acquainted with his new surroundings.

And new they are, remembering the Vodafone Warriors were based on the other side of Beasley Avenue when Lauitiiti left to begin his long Super League career in 2004.

He met the players, coaching staff and management, picked up his Canterbury of New Zealand kit and was left hugely impressed after seeing the quality of the Vodafone Warriors' facilities.

A 115-game player with the club from 1998-2004, the king of the offload has signed a one-year second-tier contract aiming to play in the top flight for an astonishing 19th straight season.

After making his first-grade debut as an 18-year-old in 1998, he had seven seasons in the NRL followed by a much-decorated eight years and 200 appearances for the Leeds Rhinos before winding up his time in England with 94 games across four seasons with the Wakefield Wildcats.

Including 19 Tests for the Kiwis and four for Toa Samoa, the big man has played an astonishing total of 432 matches at top level.

He admits he has some work to do after missing the first six weeks of the Vodafone Warriors' offseason training programme but says he's excited about being back at the club that has always had a special place in his heart. 

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The New Zealand Warriors honour the mana of the Indigenous peoples of Aotearoa, Australia and the Pacific. We acknowledge the traditional kaitiaki of the lands, elders past and present, their stories, their traditions, their mamae and their mana motuhake.

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