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Hooker Otukolo upgraded to top 30 contract for 2022

Hooker Taniela Otukolo has joined fellow 2021 rookie Edward Kosi in being upgraded to the Vodafone Warriors’ fulltime NRL squad for the coming 2022 NRL season.

The promotion comes after the 19-year-old Otahuhu Leopards junior had his club contract extended to 2024 a month before his first-grade debut against the Newcastle Knights in June this year.

One of six Vodafone Warriors players to make their NRL debuts in 2021, Otukolo went on to play three first-grade matches.

“Taniela is another terrific example of a player who has come through our Sky Sport Future Warriors programme,” said Vodafone Warriors CEO Cameron George.

“Nathan Brown and the coaching staff rate him really highly and this is reward for him. He’s in line to play a huge role in our club’s future.”

Otukolo is one of a group of young Vodafone Warriors players handed their debuts over the last two seasons including Eliesa Katoa, Tom Ale, Reece Walsh, Rocco Berry, Kosi, Viliami Vailea and Jackson Frei.while Adam Pompey debuted in 2019.

The club has also just announced Otukinekina and Valingi Kepu have been upgraded to NRL contracts from 2023. 

“We’re committed to our future as well as our present,” said Vodafone Warriors head coach Nathan Brown.

“Taniela has worked really hard and gained invaluable experience in the NRL this year.

“He had only just turned 19 when he made his debut this year and might have had a few more games but for injury.”

As well as lining up in the NRL, Otukolo appeared for feeder club Redcliffe in the Queensland colts’ competition where he helped the Dolphins to within a win of making the grand final.

His promise saw him used in the Vodafone Warriors’ Jersey Flegg Cup side (under-20) when he was only 17 in 2019 and he excelled for the club’s S G Ball Cup (under-18) team in 2020 when he scored nine tries in six games.

TANIELA OTUKOLO  
Born May 22, 2002
Birthplace Tofoa, Tonga
Junior club Otahuhu Leopards
Position Hooker
Height 179cm
Weight 91kg
Vodafone Warriors No  261
NRL debut Vodafone Warriors v Newcastle Knights, McDonald Jones Stadium, Newcastle, June 19, 2021 (Rd 15)
NRL career 3 appearances for Vodafone Warriors (2021)
QRL colts (under-21) 9 appearances for Redcliffe (2021), 4 points (1 try)
S G Ball Cup (under-18) 6 appearances for Vodafone Warriors (2020), 36 points (9 tries)
Jersey Flegg Cup (under-20) 9 appearances for Vodafone Warriors (2019), 16 points (4 tries)
Representative New Zealand Residents 18s