The Warriors have signed troubled centre Taane Milne on a two-year deal, according to a report from The Sunday Telegraph.
The 23-year-old was sacked by Wests Tigers in April after failing a drug test for the second time and played out the 2018 season with ISP outfit Mounties.
Born in Auckland, Milne represented the Junior Kiwis during three seasons in Sydney Roosters’ NYC ranks. He linked with St George Illawarra and played 18 NRL games across the 2016-17 campaign, ironically scoring his only first-grade try to date against the Warriors in Hamilton last year.
Milne signed with Tigers and shaped as potentially one of the best buys of 2018 after a breakout World Cup campaign for Fiji. He played all five matches at the tournament for the semi-finalists, scoring four tries and eight goals.
But his career appeared to be on the scrapheap after being punted without playing an NRL game for the Tigers.
OFFICIAL — Wests Tigers have today announced the termination of Taane Milne from the club.
— Wests Tigers (@WestsTigers) April 6, 2018
The Telegraph reported Milne sent a handwritten letter to Warriors coach Stephen Kearney asking for a lifeline.
“I told him I’m not a drug addict,” Milne told the Telegraph‘s Michael Carayannis.
“I wrote to him — spelling errors and all — telling him that I wanted to play in the NRL again. That I owned up to my errors and I was on the right track. I knew I could offer something to the club.
“I don’t have a drug problem. I made a mistake. A really costly one and I embarrassed myself and my family. I felt so much embarrassment.
Taane Milne breaks silence on drugs ban ahead of NRL return https://t.co/nAPJm4ogU0
— Michael Carayannis (@MCarayannis) November 3, 2018
“It was my fault though and I can’t blame anyone else. I did this to me. But I have learnt so much. I’ve grown up. I had a really good job and I lost it all.
“I thought my NRL career was done and people would just remember as a guy who had a drug problem. I want to use this to help people. Only now am I comfortable speaking about what I did.
“Alcohol was a factor and I’ve been off it for months. I’ve made a promise to myself not to drink the entire pre-season.”
Milne, who tips the scales around the 100kg mark, boasts explosive pace, wonderful footwork and a tremendous offload. If he can rediscover the form he produced at the World Cup, the tyro will provide stiff competition for Warriors centre contenders Solomone Kata, Peta Hiku and Gerard Beale in 2019.
He is set to move to Auckland and begin pre-season training with the Warriors this week.