You have skipped the navigation, tab for page content

As he prepared to take a call from incoming Warriors coach Andrew Webster last year, Brayden Wiliame assured wife Stephanie that he was only doing it as a courtesy and had no intention of moving their young family to New Zealand. 

Five minutes later Webster – who knew Wiliame from their brief time together at Parramatta in 2013 when he was the U-20 coach – had sold the veteran centre on his vision for the club and convinced him that he had an important role to play in it. 

"I walked out and my wife could see it on my face, she said 'we're moving to NZ aren't we? I just had to say 'oh, yeah, you got me!'," Wiliame said. 

At the time Wiliame had just finished up an ill-fated stint with Perpignan in the elite French rugby union competition and was eyeing a return to the Super League competition where he previously played for Catalans Dragons. 

Having already enjoyed a 46-game Telstra Premiership career which included stops at the Eels, Sea Eagles and Dragons, he was at peace with his NRL career being over at the age of 29. 

"I thought my time in the NRL was done and dusted... I didn't have the ambition to come back at that point in time," he said. 

It was only after having a chat to Webby about where he sees the team going and how I could fit into it that I sort of got the competitive juices flowing again.

Brayden Wiliame

"It was one of those opportunities where I knew I'd whack myself if I didn't take it up.

"Webby is really passionate about what he believes in, so to get that nod of approval from him that he wanted me was cool."

Wiliame in action for the Warriors during the Pre-season Challenge. ©NRL Photos.
Wiliame in action for the Warriors during the Pre-season Challenge. ©NRL Photos.

Following two strong Pre-season Challenge performances, Wiliame emerged as the club's first-choice left centre to start the year and played a key role in the opening-round victory over the Knights, setting up a try and carrying the ball for 150 metres.

While clearly taken by his work on the field, Webster said this week that the things the former Fiji Bati representative does away from it are equally as impressive. 

"I love him, mate. He's been excellent since he's come to the club," Webster said. 

"He has been all around the world, played in different countries... he comes back and just brings a lot of calmness and experience. 

"So low maintenance, he's so professionalism. 

"The biggest strength of Brayden [is] what he does for young people around him, the way he puts him arm around them and teaches them. People that are in our [NSW] Cup, he wants to pass on those messages of what he has learned." 

Welcome back Charnze

It's been a rejuvenating move for Wiliame too, who is relishing the chance to mentor fellow centres Viliami Vailea, Rocco Berry and Ali Leiataua.

"I didn't actually understand what sort of talent we had in the outside backs, but within a couple of weeks I was like 'OK, these are going to be the next guys, they are guns'," he said. 

"It has helped my game as well being able to come in and share what I know about the game. That was part of the pitch from Webby, and that [mentoring] is stuff that I want to go into after footy."

Acknowledgement of Country

The New Zealand Warriors honour the mana of the Indigenous peoples of Aotearoa, Australia and the Pacific. We acknowledge the traditional kaitiaki of the lands, elders past and present, their stories, their traditions, their mamae and their mana motuhake.

Principal Partner

Major Partners

Official Sponsors

View All Partners