The New Zealand Warriors have locked down 27-year-old prop forward James Gavet through to the end of 2019 and added Tonga international Leivaha Pulu of the Gold Coast Titans, on a three-year deal from next season.
Gavet, who joined the Warriors from the Broncos ahead of the 2016 season has racked up 18 appearances and a single try since his move.
Enthusiasm & aggression
On a statement on the club’s website, Warriors recruitment and development manager Tony Iro said of the pair “they both bring size and plenty of enthusiasm and aggression in the way they play the game.”
“James was in our NYC and NRL squads in 2009 and 2010 and always had potential. It has taken him time to get to this level, but he has had a really impressive season since coming back into our first grade side in round four.”
Following his time with the Warriors, Gavet spent time with the now-defunct Auckland Vulcans, the Warriors’ feeder team which competed in the New South Wales Cup at the time. From there he moved to the Sydney, linking up with the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs where he managed just one appearance before spending time with the Wests Tigers and Brisbane Broncos, notching up just 13 appearances across both clubs.
The long trip to first grade
Pulu himself left Auckland as a youngster, attending Keebra Park State High School, famous for its rugby league talent production line before playing with the Wests Tigers in the National Youth Competition. He then went on to spells in the NSW Cup with Western Suburbs, Windsor Wolves and the Wyong Roos as well as time in the northern hemisphere with France’s Lezignan Sangliers.
Iro was complimentary of Pulu, saying “we’ve been interested in Leivaha for a while. He has worked hard for his opportunity in the NRL and has made a real impact since joining the Titans.”
Pulu kick-started his NRL career with a one-season deal for 2016 before managing 32 games for the Titans and a solitary appearance for Tonga in their win over Fiji earlier this year.
The pair join Tohu Harris of the Melbourne Storm as recruits for the Warriors for the 2018 season and beyond, with Tony Iro also confirming more new signings would be confirmed in the coming weeks.
The Warriors have already lost Kieran Foran to the Bulldogs and Ben Matulino to the Wests Tigers come season’s end while key players like Charlie Gubb, Ryan Hoffman, Jacob Lillyman and Bodene Thompson remain off-contract as it stands.
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