Playing for any club for more than 7-8 years is a great achievement and a show of loyalty – and that is exactly what Warriors centre Jerome Ropati has done, with the veteran re-signing with the New Zealand Warriors, in a deal that will see him stay with the club until the end of the 2013 season.
The deal will see Ropati become the 2nd longest-serving player with 11 seasons, along with Awen Guttenbeil – with Stacey Jones in front of him on 12 seasons played for the Warriors.
For Ropati, he feels that at his age, it made sense to only commit to 1-year deals at a time.
â€œIâ€™m more than happy to sign for just one season. Itâ€™s a fair way for both parties and Iâ€™m confident my form this year and next will warrant a further extension,â€ he said.
â€œI really appreciate the great support he Vodafone Warriors have given me throughout my career. This is the only club I want to play for.
â€œMy focus right now is on doing the best I can each week this season. Iâ€™ve had some injury setbacks and Iâ€™m driven to get back to playing as much football as I can.
â€œI love it here. This is home for me. Itâ€™s great being among the boys, the coaching staff and seeing all the young players coming through our system. Iâ€™d like to help as much as I can with the young boys.â€
With each club having an ambassador for the One Community, Ropati is the ambassador for the Warriors – with his off-field achievements something that he also takes pride in.
â€œBeing involved in One Community programmes like the Konica Minolta League in Libraries initiative is really important to me,â€ he said.
â€œBeing involved in the community has become a critical part of being a professional footballer today, about developing yourself as a person. I get a lot of pleasure out of it.â€
Brian McClennan, the Warriors head coach, who was also working with Ropati at international level for the Kiwis – and speaks highly of of the value that Ropati brings to both the team and the club.
â€œJeromeâ€™s experience and versatility are so important for us,â€ he said.
â€œWith so many young players coming through into our NRL side, we need good people like Jerome to mentor them and help us with our culture.
â€œHeâ€™s such a terrific person to have around the team and the club and itâ€™s great to have playing on for another season and hopefully beyond that as well.â€