Vaa'sa signs with Cowboys for

Auckland's Hale Vaa'sa has signed with the North Queensland Cowboys for the 2004 National Rugby League season.

Vaa'sa, 22, played at centre for the Mt Albert Lions in the domestic Bartercard Cup this year and recently toured Britain with New Zealand A.

He has been included in North Queensland's development squad, but will need to unseat Queensland State of Origin centres Paul Bowman and Josh Hannay for a spot in the first team.

Coach Graham Murray believes the 95kg Vaa'sa could turn some heads in his first season at North Queensland.

"I think with the ball in hand he's a very exciting player and I think the crowd will warm to him straight away," Murray told the Townsville Bulletin newspaper.

Murray said it was the first time the club had recruited a player directly from the Bartercard Cup.