Love-Henry joins the War­riors

Sunday Star-Times - - SPORT - DAVID LONG

THE War­riors have made another raid on the Bris­bane Bron­cos, sign­ing promis­ing sec­ond rower Matiu Love-Henry for next sea­son.

The 21-year-old will re­join the War­riors next year, hav­ing spent two sea­sons with the Bron­cos.

Although Love-Henry had a first­grade con­tract he never made it into the NRL team at the Wayne Ben­nett-coached side, but did play for them at this year’s Auck­land Nines and was a stand-out per­former for Norths Devils in the Queens­land Cup.

A source in Aus­tralia, with in­sider knowl­edge at the Bron­cos, has re­vealed that while they were keen to keep Love-Henry, salary cap pres­sure, caused by how the cap is ex­pected to be mea­sured from next sea­son, has re­sulted in him be­ing signed by the War­riors.

Although he won’t be the big­gest name re­cruit by the War­riors over the off-sea­son, he is just the type of player the club needs.

He is a strong ball-run­ner, with a side step that can cut a de­fen­sive line wide open.

Love-Henry, who played for New Zealand at un­der-18 level, joins Ki­wis prop Adam Blair and strength and con­di­tion­ing guru Alex Corvo as re­cent sign­ings from the Bron­cos.

Other sign­ings for next sea­son are Tohu Harris from the Storm, Leivaha Pulu from the Ti­tans and Ger­ard Beale at the Sharks.

War­riors coach Stephen Kear­ney would have known Love-Henry from the 2016 sea­son when they were both at the Bron­cos.

Love-Henry, who comes from Taupo, was at the War­riors be­fore he went to Aus­tralia and this sea­son played along­side another for­mer War­rior, John Palavi.

It was never go­ing to be easy for Love-Henry to crack the Bron­cos’ first-grade team, with vet­er­ans Alex Glenn, Matt Gil­lett and Sam Thai­day all in front of him.

How­ever, there should be more op­por­tu­ni­ties for him to make his NRL de­but at the War­riors and it gives the club more depth, es­pe­cially if Bo­dene Thomp­son isn’t re-signed.

Mean­while, it is look­ing like some­thing big is brew­ing at Mt Smart Sta­dium, with a sig­nif­i­cant an­nounce­ment com­ing soon.

The club has de­cided to push back its an­nual Mem­bers’ Fo­rum to Novem­ber.

It usu­ally takes place dur­ing the sea­son or soon af­ter it.

The club sent an email to mem­bers last week, say­ing this was done to ‘‘to en­sure mem­bers will be given greater trans­parency around key de­ci­sions that are made in the com­ing weeks on the back of a very dis­ap­point­ing sea­son in which we fell well short of ex­pec­ta­tions’’.

PHOTOTEK

New War­riors re­cruit Matiu Love-Henry is a strong ball-run­ner boast­ing a lethal side-step.

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