Speculation had him linked with a move away from the club but in the end, the chance to stay at the New Zealand Warriors was too good to pass up, with Manu ‘The Beast’ Vatuvei re-signing with the club until the end of the 2015 NRL season.
Vatuvei will have the chance to complete a feat that no Warriors player has achieved – playing in 12 consecutive seasons for the club once his new deal expires.
Manu, who was off contract at the end of the year, had rival clubs bid for his service as well as English Super League clubs and union clubs from overseas.
Despite all that, Vatuvei said that having his contract sorted out is a massive relief and that his heart has always been with the club.
â€œHaving my contract sorted out is a big relief. Now I can concentrate totally on the Bulldogs in Wellington this weekend,â€ he said.
â€œMy heart is always here at the Vodafone Warriors and always will be.
â€œItâ€™s where I wanted to stay and so did my family so I couldnâ€™t be happier it has worked out this way.
â€œI love this club, the players, coaches, staff and members and all they mean to me and to my family. They do so much for us.
â€œAt this stage of my career, we looked at other options but remaining with the Vodafone Warriors was what we wanted.
Iâ€™d like to thank not just Peter (Brown) but also Wayne (Scurrah), Dean (Bell) and Matt (Elliott) for making it possible for me to stay here. Itâ€™s where I belong.â€
With a great attacking threat on the wings, Warriors coach Matt Elliott who is in his first year with the club, is ecstatic that Vatuvei has re-signed.
â€œManu is a very rare gem, a true superstar not just in our game but in sport across the board in this part of the world,â€ he said.
â€œI havenâ€™t been here long but I immediately became aware that, in Manu, we have not just a player but a person whose influence permeates through the club in every way imaginable. He has so many wonderful qualities when heâ€™s playing, when heâ€™s training, when heâ€™s out in the community or just around the club.
â€œI always admired him from afar and that admiration has gone to another level since being here. Heâ€™s got so much more to give the Vodafone Warriors through his deeds as a player and in all facets of club life and I know heâ€™ll keep giving, too.â€