The Warriors have confirmed the re-signing of veteran Jerome Ropati, just days after announcing the recruitment of Melbourne Storm and Queensland Origin star Dane Nielsen for next year.
The 27-year-old Kiwis international has signed a new one-year contract with club and will become the second longest serving Warrior when he lines up for his 11th season in 2013.
Ropati’s manager Bruce Sharrock said Ropati's preference was always to stay in Auckland.
"The direction I was given by Jerome was that if we could make it happen with the Warriors, that's what he wanted," Sharrock said.
"He's been there for 10 years now and all things being equal, he'd like to see his career out at the club.
"I still believe, and as do the Warriors, that there's a lot of good football ahead of Jerome. He's obviously come back from an injury that, if you look around at other examples, takes a while to recover from."
Ropati is the longest serving member of the current Warriors squad, having made his first-grade debut in 2003.
His 137-game career has been blighted by multiple injuries, including a serious knee complaint which kept him out for most of 2011.
He returned to the field this year before missing two matches due to minor ankle and hamstring injuries.
Ropati showed his versatility by impressing when playing out of position at fullback in the 30-20 win over the Broncos last weekend.
Nielsen's signing had prompted speculation that Ropati's time at the Warriors was coming to an end.
But it is understood the club had no intention of letting the 11-test and World Cup-winning Kiwi, who is held in high regard by both officials and his team-mates, walk out the door.
While it is only a one year contract, Ropati is confident he can continue playing for the Warriors beyond 2013.
“It’s a fair way for both parties and I’m confident my form this year and next will warrant a further extension,” he said.
“I really appreciate the great support the Warriors have given me throughout my career. This is the only club I want to play for.
“I love it here. This is home for me. It’s great being among the boys, the coaching staff and seeing all the young players coming through our system. I’d like to help as much as I can with the young boys.”
- © Fairfax NZ News
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