There was a lot of speculation regarding his future to the point where it looked like he would leave at one stage, but despite all of that, the New Zealand Warriors have re-signed back-rower Feleti Mateo on a 3-year deal.
The deal, which will run until the en of 2016, will see Mateo’s time at the Warriors extended to six years, as the back-rower prepares to make his 150th career NRL appearance this week.
Since moving to the club, Mateo feels he has matured into a better player and is eager to help guide the Warriors to eventual success.
â€œThere were other offers but thereâ€™s so much more I want to achieve with the team and the coaching staff at the Vodafone Warriors,â€ Mateo said today.
â€œMaking the move to this club has helped me to develop as a player and I know thereâ€™s a lot more room for improvement, too. Iâ€™ve also grown as a person since joining the club.
â€œMy wife Michele and I have our first baby due in September and that made the decision extremely difficult but Iâ€™m really excited about our future here.
â€œWeâ€™ve got a great group of players and thereâ€™s loads of tremendous young talent coming through. Iâ€™d also like to play a leadership role in their development.
â€œI like what (head coach) Matt (Elliott) has put in place, the staff he has around him and the plans he has.
â€œThis is a great club and I want to make a big contribution to our future.â€
With the Warriors aiming for success in the coming years, the coach sees the re-signing of Mateo as a key signing for the future and for the club moving forward.
â€œItâ€™s a highly significant statement that Feleti has committed himself to us,â€ Elliott said.
â€œHeâ€™s a quality player and knows what weâ€™re trying to achieve here. Iâ€™m excited to know heâ€™ll be with us for another three years as we strive to take the Vodafone Warriors forward.â€
The re-signing of Mateo follows the re-signing of fan favourite Manu Vatuvei and the signing of Cronulla Sharks back-rower Jayson Bukuya – as Warriors General Manager of Football Operations Dean Bell says Mateo’s re-signing is a good move forward to the club’s recruitment.
â€œItâ€™s a good sign to have Feleti secured for another three years and to have Jayson coming over as well,â€ Bell said.
â€œWe know there are challenges securing players out of Australia at times but Feleti and Jayson have shown there are players who are really keen to come to our club and be a part of the great things we have to offer.
â€œFeleti loves living here in New Zealand. It was a big factor in him staying.â€