June 16, 2024

The Dolphins have bolstered their future roster with the signing of Wests Tigers speedster Junior Tupou.

The 21-year-old Tonga Interntional will join the club in 2025 on a three-year deal as another impressive backline acquisition after English centre Herbie Farnworth and former Bulldog Jake Averillo joined the club for the 2023 pre-season.

Dolphins’ chief executive Terry Reader said Tupou will add even more depth to the squad as the Dolphins continue to establish themselves in the NRL.

“He is one of the most exciting young backs in the NRL at the moment so we will be excited to have him join our evolving roster,” Reader said.

“Junior is a powerful runner out of the back of the field so he will give us plenty of punch.

“At his age he also has plenty of room and time to improve his game, so we see him as a really valuable addition to the long-term future of the club

The Sharks have landed a major recruitment coup for the 2025 season with the signing of Dally M Prop of the Year Addin Fonua-Blake. 

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The Tongan front-rower has agreed to terms on a four-year deal with Cronulla which will run from 2025-2028, but will remain with the Warriors in 2024 before moving on, having requested and been granted an early release from his contract with the Kiwi club.

Sharks coach Craig Fitzgibbon said he is excited to have bolstered the class and depth of his forward pack from 2025 onwards with the addition of Fonua-Blake.

“Addin is a world class front-rower and we are delighted to be adding him to our roster,” Fitzgibbon said.

“Throughout the negotiation process we have been impressed by his attitude, his genuine desire to help make the Sharks successful and to complement and work alongside both those in our leadership group and the young forwards we have coming through our system.

In a statement released shortly after the Sharks announced the signing, Warriors CEO Cameron George confirmed the arrangement excluded a player swap option

The Roosters meanwhile have extended Naufahu Whyte on a two-year extension which will see the young forward remain at the club until the end of the 2026 season.

The 21-year-old backrower has made 11 first grade games since making his debut with the club back in 2021, including eight games in 2023.

Having also been named as 18th man in the Kiwis squad for the recent Pacific Championships, Roosters head of recruitment Daniel Anderson said he was pleased to have Whyte extend.

“It’s been terrific to watch Fahu’s growth within our squad over the last few years,” Anderson said.

“He’s a hard worker and a good person, and his best footy is ahead of him, so it’s great to have him locked into the club’s long-term plans

Wests Tigers meanwhile have signed New Zealand Super Rugby outside back Solomon Alaimalo for the 2024 season.

The 27-year-old has made the switch to rugby league after playing several seasons with the Waikato Chiefs, and more recently with Canterbury in New Zealand’s National Provincial Championship.

Joining his new teammates for his first session of pre-season on Monday, coach Benji Marshall said the towering back will bring a wealth of skill and experience to the squad.

“We’re very excited to have Solomon join the club, he is a very explosive athlete with great speed, power, and agility,” Marshall said.

“He will also add leadership and experience to our group and is a man of great character.”

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