Hard-running prop Bunty Afoa has joined long-time teammate Jazz Tevaga by re-signing with the Vodafone Warriors until the end of the 2023 NRL season.
The new two-year deal leaves the 24-year-old St Paul’s College product on track to graduate to the Vodafone Warriors’ 100-game club.
Named on the bench to face Melbourne in Sunday’s 14th-round clash in Gosford, Afoa will lift his career tally to 76 appearances since his debut in 2016.
Together with Tevaga (81 games) – recently re-signed until 2023 – and winger Ken Maumalo (105 games), Afoa has gone on to establish himself as an NRL player after being in the club’s grand final-winning under-20 side in 2014.
I couldn’t be more pleased that he’s staying with the clubNathan Brown Vodafone Warriors head coach
“Bunty has worked really hard on his game and I couldn’t be more pleased that he’s staying with the club,” said Vodafone Warriors head coach Nathan Brown.
“He has put in a lot of effort on his all-round play and we expect him to continue to grow and add to his game to make him a more rounded player in the years to come.”
The new contract is reward for Afoa after making a successful comeback from a devastating ACL injury which ruled him out for the entire 2020 season.
“Bunty has had a very good year and worked hard to improve his game,” said Vodafone Warriors recruitment manager Peter O’Sullivan.
“He’s at an age and with the number of NRL games played that he becomes an invaluable squad member.
“It was important as a born and bred Warrior that he extended his tenure with us.”
Vodafone Warriors CEO Cameron George underlined the significance of Afoa being retained after being developed by the club.
“As a local product, we’re delighted to see Bunty stay on with us for two more years,” said Vodafone Warriors CEO Cameron George.
“He’s a well-established NRL player who will come into his prime over this year and the next two.”
Used off the bench in eight of his 11 matches so far this season, Afoa has played an average of 32 minutes a game, making almost 70 metres and 22 tackles a game. He has missed just four tackles while making 244 in total.
Born: August 20, 1996
Birthplace: Auckland, NZ
Junior Clubs: Point Chevalier Pirates, Mount Albert Lions (Auckland)
Vodafone Warriors No: 213
NRL Debut: Vodafone Warriors v Gold Coast Titans, Mount Snart Stadium, Auckland, July 2, 2016 (Rd 17)
NRL Games: 75 (2016-2021)
NRL Points: 16 (4 tries)
Representative: 7 Tests Toa Samoa (2016-2019), Rugby League World Cup (2017)