You may know him by one of his nicknames: the Hurrellicane or King Kon – but in added boost for the New Zealand Warriors in the future, boom centre Konrad Hurrell has re-signed with the club until the end of the 2015 NRL season.
Hurrell, 20, is only through in his second season of rugby league, but the young Tongan has taken the NRL world by storm, scoring 12 tries in 12 games, including 11 in his last 7 games.
Although a foot injury kept him out of the Warriors clash earlier this week, Hurrell says that he is excited about his future in the game, both with the Warriors and the game in general.
â€œIâ€™m really happy and stoked Iâ€™m going to be with the Vodafone Warriors and with the boys for so long,â€ said Hurrell.
â€œI love playing rugby league and now I just want to play the best footy I can and hopefully Iâ€™ll be able to stay here even longer.
â€œMy good friend Omar (Slaimankhel) was the one who got me here. He told me he loved the environment, the players and the game and he said I would too. It was hard to make the decision at first but Iâ€™m glad I made the switch. I get the ball so much more than I did in union and the game is more physical and tougher I think.â€
Dean Bell, the Warriors recruitment manager, said that with the success of both Hurrell and his young team-mate Omar Slaimankhel – it is a sign to Union players about the allure of the game of rugby league.
â€œAs a club weâ€™ve shown rugby union players that thereâ€™s so much they can achieve by coming to the Vodafone Warriors,â€ he said.
â€œWeâ€™ve had success in identifying Konrad and Omar at school level and have seen them take to rugby league so well. Weâ€™ve got others like them on our books who are developing well and we know there are more out there who could also make it.â€
Hurrell was off-contract at the end of next year, so the Warriors were keen to lock him for the long-term, to avoid potential suitors.
â€œHeâ€™s a good boy is Konnie. Heâ€™s been going really well for us from the start of the season and we all know thereâ€™s even better to come,â€ said Vodafone Warriors head coach Brian McClennan.
â€œWe knew he had real talent but it was during the preseason that we really saw he was something extra special.
â€œThe way these young players have come through our system here at the Vodafone Warriors is great and young Konnie has shown such a willingness to work on his game and do all he can to improve every week.â€
Making the transition to rugby league from Union is never easy, but Hurrell said that with the help of some people, it made adjusting to the new game a lot easier.
â€œRicky Henry (development coach) was great when I first came here and then Papa (John Ackland) in the juniors and now Bluey (McClennan) and Sponge (Tony Iro) in the NRL team,â€ he said.
â€œAll the players have helped me, everyone, like Feleti Mateo, Jerome Ropati, James Maloney, Simon Mannering and most of all big Manu. I look up to him all the time. Heâ€™s a really big help for me.â€
Hurrell also reiterated his desire to represent New Zealand.
â€œMy dream used to be about trying to play for the All Blacks but not now. All I want to do is to play for the Kiwis if I get the opportunity,â€ he said.