Record-setting One New Zealand Warriors winger Dallin Watene-Zelezniak has signed a new one-year contract keeping him at the club until the end of the 2025 NRL season.
The deal ensures the 28-year-old 2023 Dally M Winger of the Year will extend his stay with the One New Zealand Warriors to a fifth season after originally signing in 2021 through to the end of next season.
WateneZelezniak’s contract comes on the back of a career-best 12th NRL campaign which saw him score 24 tries, beating the club’s 20-year-old record of 23 for most touchdowns in a season.
“Dallin has made a tremendous impact on and off the field since joining us in the challenging times when we were based in Australia,” said One New Zealand Warriors general manager recruitment, pathways and development Andrew McFadden.
“Like a number of players, he really flourished once we returned home for the 2023 season.”
As well as making the Dally M Team of the Year, Watene-Zelezniak was voted by his peers as one of the wingers in the RLPA’s Dream Team of the Year. He was also a finalist for the One New Zealand Warriors’ top award, the Simon Mannering Medal.
DWZ's record: Watch every one of his 24 tries
“What Dallin showed to everyone is how much it meant for him and his family being back in New Zealand,” said One New Zealand Warriors head coach Andrew Webster.
“He stood out as one of the best wingers in the competition, if not the best.
“His yardage carries were unbelievable while the tries, and the way he scored so many of them, were the icing on the cake.
“Not only that, his defence came a long way with how reliable he is, understanding where he’s got to be for the team, to make the right decision.”
Watene-Zelezniak’s 24-try haul in just 20 games doubled his previous season-best of 12 in 2016 while his strike rate of 1.2 tries a game was the best of the competition’s leading try scorers.
Averaging 153 metres a game, he finished the season with 25 line breaks, four try assists and 80 tackle breaks.
In just 47 appearances for the One New Zealand Warriors, Watene-Zelezniak has scored 37 tries. He is now only 14 tries away from joining the NRL’s 100-try club while he will start the 2024 season 10 games short of his 200th career appearance.
|Born: August 17, 1995
Birthplace: Hamilton, NZ
Junior clubs: College Old Boys (Hamilton), St Clair Comets (Sydney)
NRL debut: Penrith v Canberra, Panthers Stadium, Penrith, April 5, 2014 (Rd 5)
One New Zealand Warriors debut: v St George Illawarra, Central Coast Stadium, Gosford, July 2, 2021 (Rd 16)
Warriors No: 262
NRL appearances: 190 (2014-2023)
Penrith: 106 (2014-2019)
Canterbury Bankstown: 37 (2019-2021)
One New Zealand Warriors: 47 (2021-2023)
NRL points: 344 (86 tries)
Penrith: 164 (41 tries)
Canterbury Bankstown: 32 (8 tries)
One New Zealand Warriors: 148 (37 tries)
Representative: 13 Tests for Kiwis (2016-2022), Māori All Stars (2020-2021)