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Christchurch's Tala Mailei (right) with fellow Cantabrian Cyrus Timo-latu at the Vodafone Warriors' open NYC trial at Cornwall Park in October.

The Vodafone Warriors have passed on their sympathies to Tala Mailei’s family after the 17-year-old player was found dead in Christchurch today.

Mailei had been training with the Vodafone Warriors’ wider under-20 squad since last month after impressing coaching staff at the club’s annual open NYC trial in Auckland in early October.

He was home for the Christmas break and was due to resume training with the squad in the New Year.

Vodafone Warriors managing director Jim Doyle said everyone at the club is devastated about Mailei’s death.

“We’re in shock. This is dreadful for Tala’s family and also for all of us at the club,” he said.

“We are giving the family all the support we can and will also be offering the same for all our players and staff.

“Tala had impressed our staff and was set to be part of our NYC squad in 2016.”

Mailei played for Aranui High School at the 2015 New Zealand Rugby League national secondary schools’ tournament.

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