Dragons forward to join Warriors on three-year deal

David Skipwith, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Saturday, 26 May 2018, 11:08AM
Auckland-born forward Ah Mau will join the Warriors next season. (Photo: Photosport)
Auckland-born forward Ah Mau will join the Warriors next season. (Photo: Photosport)

St George Illawarra forward Leeson Ah Mau will join the Warriors next season.

The Herald understands the 28-year-old Auckland-born front-rower or lock has agreed to return home to take up a three-year deal believed to be worth around $500,000 a season that will keep him at the Warriors until the end of 2021.

The Warriors began discussions with Ah Mau earlier this season and beat out offers from several rival clubs including the Knights, Titans, and Panthers. The Dragons also attempted to re-sign him.

The move will bring the former Junior Warrior back to the club he began his NRL career with. Ah Mau played two games for the Warriors in 2009, before moving to the Cowboys and linking up with the Dragons in 2012.

Ah Mau was initially believed to be keen to sign with a Queensland NRL club, but both he and his wife, Rose, have family in Auckland, which was a big factor in his decision to return to the Warriors.

It's understood Ah Mau this week informed his St George Illawarra teammates that he will depart at the end of the season, ahead of Saturday's top of the table NRL clash with second-placed Penrith at Panthers Stadium.

The Samoan international and former Junior Kiwi has been an outstanding performer off the bench for the competition leaders, who have lost just two games so far this season - against the third-placed Warriors and fourth-ranked Rabbitohs.

The Papatoetoe and Otahuhu junior was one of the Dragons' best in their round seven 20-12 defeat at Mt Smart Stadium last month and has been dynamic as a replacement for starting props Paul Vaughan and James Graham.

Ah Mau's recruitment will ensure the Warriors have depth in the middle forward role with uncertainty over whether 287-game veteran Simon Mannering will play on beyond this season.

His arrival will mean the Warriors playing roster for next year is almost full and the club has little money left to spend after recruiting heavily last year in signing the likes of Tohu Harris, Adam Blair, Blake Green, Peta Hiku and Gerard Beale.

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