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AIDAN KIRK – Warrior #136 (2008-09): 20 games – 8 tries (32 points)

Gosford product Aidan Kirk was a dependable performer on the wing for the New Zealand Warriors during the 2008-09 NRL seasons.

Kirk featured at fullback in the lower grades for Newcastle and the Sydney Roosters, coming under the tutelage of coach Ivan Cleary in the Roosters’ 2004 Grand Final-winning Premier League side aged just 18. He endured twin Premier League Grand Final defeats to Parramatta in the ensuing two seasons – with the Roosters in 2005 and the NRL club’s feeder team Newtown in 2006 – but was stretchered off after tearing ligaments in his knee in the latter defeat.

The injury stymied the start of Kirk’s stint at the Warriors after he reunited with Cleary the following season. He was limited to Premier League appearances with the Auckland Lions and a period with Counties-Manukau in the Bartercard Cup in 2007.

Kirk belatedly made his NRL debut against Melbourne a day after his 22nd birthday in the opening round of the 2008 season, taking the field at fullback in the place of the injured Wade McKinnon. Subsequently replaced by Lance Hohaia a week later, the wiry flyer returned to first grade on the wing in Round 11 after Manu Vatuvei fractured his leg, scoring his maiden NRL try against his former club the Roosters.

He crossed for four more tries in his next seven appearances and occupied a spot on the flank throughout the Warriors’ stirring finals charge, scoring a match-sealing 80-metre intercept try in the semi-final defeat of the Roosters and notching his team’s only four-pointer in the preliminary final loss to Manly.

The Warriors extended Kirk’s contract during the 2008 season, but he was unable to command a regular first grade spot in 2009, with Vatuvei, new signing Denan Kemp and teenage sensation Kevin Locke favoured on the wing.

Kirk was released by the Warriors at the end of 2009 after making just five NRL appearances, returning to Australia and relative footballing obscurity. He linked with Terrigal Sharks back in his old Central Coast stomping ground in 2011.

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