Isaiah Papali’i has become the youngest captain of a Vodafone Warriors senior team after being named today to lead the club at the Perth NRL Nines at HBF Stadium on Friday and Saturday.
Papali’i, who turned 21 just last September, goes into the tournament with a career total of 48 NRL games after making his debut as an 18-year-old in 2017.
He made his Test debuts for both Toa Samoa and the Kiwis in 2018.
The previous youngest Vodafone Warriors captain was club great Simon Mannering, who was 23 when he took on the role in 2010.
Papali’i will captain a side which includes seasoned NRL players in Blake Green, Ken Maumalo, Leeson Ah Mau and Agnatius Paasi alongside a host of the club’s most promising players.
Among them is Masterton-born 18-year-old fullback Rocco Berry, whose father is former All Black Marty Berry.
Rocco was signed while forging an outstanding schoolboy rugby union career with the St Patrick’s College, Silverstream First XV in Wellington.
A number of other under-20 players have also been selected including 2019 Jersey Flegg Cup players in wingers Selesitino Ravutaumada and Edward Kosi, halfback Paul Turner and hooker Temple Kalepo. Another player named yet to play in the NRL is Melbourne-born forward Jamayne Taunoa-Brown, who has been on a training contract over the preseason.
Other players with NRL experience are prop Sam Lisone, Taane Milne, Chanel Harris-Tavita, Leivaha Pulu, Adam Keighran and Hayze Perham while 2019 Canterbury Cup NSW regular Jackson Frei has also been selected.
The Vodafone Warriors open their campaign against the Newcastle Knights on Friday (9.55pm NZT). Their second and final pool match is against the Sydney Roosters on Saturday (4.35pm NZT).
VODAFONE WARRIORS | PERTH NRL NINES
LEESON AH MAU
ISAIAH PAPALI’I (captain)
COACHES | STACEY JONES AND TODD PAYTEN