Veteran Warriors winger granted early release

Manu Vatuvei

He has been a club legend for many years, has scored tries at a prolific rate in that time and will forever remain a true New Zealand Warriors patriot and fan favourite but all good things must come to an end.

Of course, we refer to Manu Vatuvei, a prodigiously talented winger who donned the Warriors jersey for many years; who has been granted an early release to join Super League side Salford.

Although Salford are yet to confirm the signing, Vatuvei admits it was not an easy decision to make but the allure of playing in Europe and a different league was an exciting challenge.

“This wasn’t an easy decision to make,” Vatuvei said.

“I’ve absolutely loved my time here at the Vodafone Warriors playing alongside my brothers.

“I will never forget this club and just want to say a massive thank you to the club and the fans for their support over the years.”

There was no holding back from Warriors Managing Director Jim Doyle, who openly praised Vatuvei and his commitments to the club.

“Manu is a club legend,” said Doyle.

“We didn’t make this decision lightly but after years of fantastic service to the Vodafone Warriors, he’s decided the time is right to head overseas and we didn’t want to stand in his way.

“We wish him all the best for his future and while he will soon be lining up for Salford, he’ll always be a Vodafone Warrior in our eyes.”

Nicknamed ‘The Beast’, Vatuvei became the first player in NRL premiership history to score 10 tries in 10 consecutive seasons, he holds the Warriors club record for most tries with 152 and was the third Warriors player to reach the 200-game milestone.

Although he will not take part in the game, the Warriors faithful will have the chance to farewell him before he leaves for England prior to the club’s game at Mt Smart Stadium against the Penrith Panthers.

“While Manu won’t play against the Panthers, our fans will understandably want a chance to give him a fitting send-off,” Doyle said.

“They’ll get that opportunity this week and we are encouraging as many as possible to come on Friday to show Manu just how much he means to them.”

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