The rebuilding of NSW Waratahs have taken a well-trained point with the signing of Manly Sea Eagles off the back of Tevita Funa on a one-year deal.
The 23-year-old made 16 NRL appearances and was named Manly’s rookie of the year last season after scoring five goals in his 12 appearances.
But this year, the odds dried up in a strong Sea Eagles side, and new Waratahs coach Darren Coleman jumped.
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“First and foremost, he ticked all the boxes of the character checks we’ve done on him,” said Coleman, who took the reins after NSW failed to win a match in 2021.
“Tevita is a very committed and focused player, which is very important.
“As a player he is a good all round pack, he is a big body, tall and good in the air, good speed and great footwork.
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“He has a rugby background which means he needs less time to adapt and if he comes out of a good program at Manly we know he will fit in as a professional.”
Funa will also represent the Western Sydney Two Blues in the Shute Shield.
The Waratahs have a long history of luring NRL players to their club with mixed results.
The spectacular jumping grab of the NSW fullback
Israel Folau was a huge success before he ran into problems off-field, but Tepai Moeroa failed to impress and has since returned to the NRL with the Melbourne Storm.
“I’m very excited about the challenge of changing codes and the opportunity for a fresh start,” Funa said.
“I played rugby when I was younger, so I hope that will help me adapt.
“The Waratahs are one of the most iconic teams in rugby and I am grateful for the opportunity they have given me.
“I’d love to use my arm as a fullback, but I’m also happy to play on the wing or in the center, I just love getting the ball in my hand.”
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