Just three weeks after securing David Fusitu’a on a new contract, the Vodafone Warriors have now signed his fellow winger Ken Maumalo until the end of the 2022 NRL season.
The new deal is a double celebration for the 24-year-old Papatoetoe Panthers junior, coming just over a week after his partner Lereno Tangata gave birth to their first child Leighken on August 20.
Maumalo’s contract ensures the big men on the wings are locked in by the Vodafone Warriors long-term with Fusitu’a (23) secured until the end of the 2023 season.
“It’s wonderful for us knowing we have Ken signed for another four seasons after this,” said Vodafone Warriors head coach Stephen Kearney.
“He has shown tremendous progress this season with his consistency and attitude. Together with David he gives us so much value at both ends of the field and has plenty of improvement in him.”
Maumalo, who made his Kiwi Test debut in Denver in June, plays his 22nd NRL match of the season – and the 63rd of his career – when the Vodafone Warriors face Canberra in their final regular season match at Mount Smart Stadium on Friday night.
“I’m so grateful to my family and to everyone at the club for the way they’ve supported me throughout my career so far,” said Maumalo.
“It’s a huge privilege to be able to play for the Vodafone Warriors. I owe them so much for giving me the opportunity and showing faith in me.
“I feel a lot better about playing in the NRL now. I’m more relaxed and I am enjoying my footy. That’s the most important thing.”
Vodafone Warriors general manager football Brian Smith said securing Maumalo was another vital signing for the club’s future plans.
“Ken is yet another wonderful young player who has come through our system,” he said.
“The coaching staff have worked hard to develop Ken into a valued first grader and he has responded. He’s having a terrific season and richly deserves the security this long-term contract gives him.”
Together with Fusitu’a and fullback Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, Maumalo has formed a potent back three which has contributed significantly to the Vodafone Warriors claiming a finals berth for the first time since 2011.
Maumalo and his centre partner on the left edge Solomone Kata have provided 16 tries to the Vodafone Warriors’ cause so far this season.
Maumalo has been a standout with his ball-carrying work especially out of the defensive end where he has been integral in starting the side’s sets.
He ranks 12th among all players for most runs with 339, second best for the Vodafone Warriors behind fifth-ranked Tuivasa-Sheck (381) while he’s 10th best for most metres gained with 3283 while Tuivasa-Sheck is fourth with 3919.
On the score of post-contact metres, he leads the way for the Vodafone Warriors with 1187 metres to rank seventh among all players.
Born: June 16, 1994
Birthplace: Auckland, NZ
Junior Club: Papatoetoe Panthers
Rep Honours: 1 Test for Kiwis (2018), 4 Tests for Toa Samoa (2016-2017)
Club and FG Debut: v Parramatta, Pirtek Stadium, May 16, 2015 (Rd 10)
NRL Career: 62 appearances (2015-2018)
NRL Points: 56 (14 tries)
Intrust Super Premiership Career: 27 appearances (2014-2017)
Intrust Super Premiership Points: 84 points (21 tries)
NYC Career: 28 games (2013-2014)
NYC Points: 44 (11 tries)