July 14, 2024

Teenaged back rower Leka Halasima has been called up to make his NRL debut in the One New Zealand Warriors’ 18th-round encounter with the in-form Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs at Accor Stadium in Sydney today (3.00pm kick-off local time; 5.00pm NZT).

No fears for Warriors as they head into 2024 | RNZ News

The promotion comes after the Mangere East Hawks and Otahuhu Leopards junior was moved into the game day 19 yesterday as a result of captain Tohu Harris being ruled out indefinitely with a chronic wrist injury.

The 18-year-old is the fifth NRL debutant to graduate from the Warriors’ development system in the last two seasons following second rower Demitric Sifakula (#278), centre Ali Leiataua (#282), back rower Jacob Laban (#286) and prop Zyon Maiu’u (#287).

Born in Tofoa in Tonga, Halasima exploded onto the scene as a 17-year-old with the SG Ball Cup (then an under-18 competition) side last year, playing six matches, scoring two tries, averaging 125 metres and making 35 tackle breaks. He was named the club’s SG Ball Cup player of the year.

Such was his potential he was quickly pushed up into the New South Wales Cup team where he played 18 matches, scored six tries, averaged 103 metres and made 56 tackle breaks.

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