A number of promising players have been signed as the One New Zealand Warriors build their rosters ahead of the landmark 2024 season when the club fields teams in a complete range of pathways competitions for the first time.
As well as being in the NRL and New South Wales Cup, the One New Zealand Warriors will have a full stable of teams in each of the NSWRL’s age group competitions in 2024.
After returning to the SG Ball Cup (under-19) following a three-year absence this season, the club will join the Jersey Flegg Cup (under-21) and Harold Matthews Cup (under-17) as well as running a Youth Academy squad (under-15).
Andrew McFadden, general manager recruitment, pathways and development, said the club had re-signed several players from this year’s SG Ball squad as well as securing new players in the under-17 and under-19 age categories.
Of this year’s SG Ball squad, player of the year Leka Halasima has been locked in for three years while second rower Eddie Ieremia has been secured for another two years with centre Patrick Moimoi signed on a development contract and back rower Kayliss Fatialofa confirmed on a train and trial preseason deal.
Signed for two years for the SG Ball Cup squad is back rower Tom Summer out of the famed rugby league nursery Keebra Park State High School on the Gold Coast. A Helensvale Hornets junior, he has played for the Tweed Head Seagulls in Queensland’s Mal Meninga Cup (under-18) and Cyril Connell Challenge (under-16) competitions.
Four players have been signed from St Thomas of Canterbury College in Christchurch led by sought-after 15-year-old Bishop Neal for the Harold Matthews squad along with Lennox Tuiloma (16) – also Harold Matthews – and Jackson Stewart (17) and Ezekiel Faga-Ieti (17) for the SG Ball squad.
“We’re pushing forward to build up our squads for what will be a huge year in the club’s history,” said McFadden.
“The Auckland area is our recruitment focus but we have links around the country and are always on the lookout for promising new players. The signings out of Canterbury are a case in point where (Sky Sport Future Warriors coach) Tony Iro has done a lot of work in recent years to establish a satellite operation.
“We signed our SG Ball captain Tanner Stowers-Smith from there for this year and he has gone on to play for our New South Wales Cup side.
“We will also look towards Australia when there are specific needs as in a player like Tom (Summer). He was recommended to Andrew Webster by Scott Sattler. We brought him over to Auckland to spend some time here and we’re thrilled to have signed him.
These are hugely exciting times for the club as we set about building up a pathways structure which is going to serve us so well in years to comeAndrew McFadden One New Zealand Warriors general manager recruitment, pathways and development
“These are hugely exciting times for the club as we set about building up a pathways structure which is going to serve us so well in years to come.”
Summer, who turned 17 last month, will move to Auckland for the preseason later in the year.
“We really like the way the Warriors want to make Tom as good as he can be,” said Summer’s father Trent.
“Andrew Webster talked to Tom and we liked the feel of the club as a whole. You can tell everyone at the Warriors is on the same page.”
The One New Zealand Warriors have already used home game days this year to expose some of the club’s future prospects at the newly-named Go Media Stadium Mt Smart.
The SG Ball Cup side played ahead of the NRL’s first home game of the season against the Bulldogs in March while a Warriors under-17 selection played against a Pasifika Aotearoa Collective under-18 squad as the curtain raiser to the NRL match against the Cowboys on April 15.