Canterbury-Bankstown and Fiji Bati outside back Marcelo Montoya is joining the Vodafone Warriors on a two-year deal to the end of the 2022 NRL season.
The 24-year-old Lautoka-born Montoya is the club’s sixth acquisition for the 2021 season following the earlier signings of Ben Murdoch-Masila (Warrington), Kane Evans (Parramatta), Euan Aitken (St George Illawarra), Addin Fonua-Blake (Manly Warringah) and Sean O’Sullivan (Brisbane).
“Marcelo is a big, fast and powerful athlete who gives great depth to our outside backs,” said Vodafone Warriors recruitment manager Peter O’Sullivan.
“He is a very good yardage player and is an accomplished try scorer proven at NRL level.
“Marcelo would be one of the most impressive players I’ve interviewed and brings a great training ethic. We have a fantastic person joining our club.”
Named the Bulldogs’ 2017 rookie of the year after scoring 12 tries in 19 games, Montoya has gone on to make 54 first-grade appearances. He was used on the wing in 2017 and 2018 but has started in the centres in all but four of his last 21 appearances.
“I’ve long been a fan of Marcelo and really look forward to coaching him,” said Vodafone Warriors head coach Nathan Brown.
Marcelo has the desire and ethic we are looking for at the Vodafone WarriorsNathan Brown Vodafone Warriors head coach
“He is keen to improve as a player and has the desire and ethic we are looking for at the Vodafone Warriors.
“Marcelo can play wing and centre equally as well and is great under the high ball.
“He will provide competition to the outside back positions in our squad and we believe we can help take his game to a new level as he gets a fresh start at our club.”
Montoya has the distinction of being the only player of South American heritage to appear in the NRL’s 112-year history.
Of Chilean heritage on his father’s side, he began his career against his new club in the first and only NRL match played at Dunedin’s Forsyth Barr Stadium, marking it with a try in the Bulldogs’ 24-12 victory over the Vodafone Warriors.
He had a prolific NYC under-20 career scoring 36 tries in 46 matches from 2014 to 2016.
After making his international debut in 2016, Montoya was in the Fiji side which stunned the Kiwis 4-2 in Wellington in the quarter-finals of the 2017 Rugby League World Cup.
Born: February 17, 1996
Birthplace: Lautoka, Fiji
Junior Club: Bankstown Bulls
NRL Debut: Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs v Vodafone Warriors, March 17, 2017 (Round 3)
NRL Career: Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs (2017-2020)
NRL Appearances: 54 appearances
NRL Points: 76 (19 tries)
Representative: 8 Tests for Fiji Bati (2016-2019)