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Highly-regarded Cronulla back rower Jayson Bukuya is Vodafone Warriors-bound next season after signing a two-year contract.
Brisbane-born of Fijian descent, Bukuya had the most impressive season of his NRL career last year when he appeared in 23 of the Sharks’ 24 regular season games as well as their week one finals loss.
Confirmation of his signing comes just days after the Vodafone Warriors announced a two-year contract extension for try-scoring record holder Manu Vatuvei through to the end of the 2015 season.
Vodafone Warriors head coach Matthew Elliott said Bukuya, who played for Fiji at the 2008 Rugby League World Cup, perfectly fits the club’s requirements.
“We needed to boost our depth in the area of our back rowers and we couldn’t be happier to secure a player of the quality Jayson will bring to the club,” he said.
“He made everyone take notice of him in 2012, having a fantastic season for the Sharks.
“He’s certainly the sort of player who will benefit from the environment here at the Vodafone Warriors and one who’ll ensure there’s plenty of competition for places in the squad.”
Bukuya said while he had business to finish at Cronulla, moving to the Vodafone Warriors represented a challenge he wanted to take on.
“I’m excited about the prospect of not just moving to a new club in the NRL but going to a new country as well,” he said.
“I’ve been able to have a good look at what is being done at Warriors and they’ve got a fantastic set-up there. The gym is as good as anything there is and they’ve always had plenty of talent coming through the club.”
Bukuya made his debut as long ago as 2008 soon after his 19th birthday but had only two appearances that year and none at all in two injury-disrupted seasons in 2009 and 2010 before he returned in 2011 to revive his NRL career.
He had 11 games that season, a launching pad for his stellar 2012 campaign. Used predominantly as a starting second rower last season, Bukuya also played in the front row once. He averaged 68 minutes a match, close to 80 metres and 24 tackles.
His involved this season has been limited ti five appearances as an interchange forward.
Born: April 21, 1989
Birthplace: Brisbane, Queensland
Position: Second Row/Loose Forward
Junior Club: Aspley Norths (Brisbane)
NRL Debut: Cronulla v Canterury-Bankstown, ANZ Stadium, May 26, 2008 (Round 11)
NRL Career: 43 appearances for Cronulla, 2008-2013
NRL Points: 28 (7 tries)
Representative: Four Tests for Fiji 2008 (Rugby League World Cup)