Bukuya labelled an 'explosive big deal' for Warriors

BEN STANLEY
Last updated 05:00 01/12/2013
Jayson Bukuya
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WARRIOR IN-WAITING: Jayson Bukuya will play in Auckland next season.

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Sharks legend Andrew Ettingshausen has labelled new Warriors backrower Jayson Bukuya an "explosive" signing who is yet to reach his peak in NRL football.

Bukuya signed a two-year deal with the Warriors in May, after playing 59 first-grade games for the Sharks between 2008 and 2013.

The 24-year-old experienced his best year in first-grade last season - scoring seven tries in 22 appearances for the Sharks as his side fought their way into the NRL playoffs.

Ettingshausen, who played 328 games for the Sharks between 1983 and 2000, has kept a close eye on Bukuya over recent years.

Even though he will be required to fill the boots of tackle machine Elijah Taylor, who heads to the Panthers this off-season, ‘ET' believes Bukuya, who played for Fiji in the Rugby League World Cup, is a fantastic signing for the Warriors.

"He's an explosive player - somebody who can make a real impact," Ettingshausen said. "The Auckland-based teams have a lot of those types of guys over the years, and he fits that mould.

"He's right up there as a great offloader, and is a fantastic hole runner. He's a great defender too, and hasn't reached his peak yet.

"He's still got some way to go there, but he should reach that peak at the Warriors."

Bukuya's ability to offload and free runners could make him a dangerous partner for offload king Feleti Mateo in the Warriors' forward pack, while Ettingshausen believes he will also impress on defence.

"He's going to be great for that second phase," he said. "He's a big powerful edge player - and I think he can really make a difference in defence as well.

"He was very strong for the Sharks this year. He scored a lot of tries, and set up loads too. I think every team needs that type."

Bukuya joins former Wigan and England star fullback Sam Tomkins as the Warriors' two big-name signings for 2014.

Young English stars Mason Tonks and Jordan Baldwinson will join the Warriors under-20s set-up under new coach Stacey Jones.

Meanwhile, former Warriors standoff Michael Witt has joined the Dragons on a one-year deal.

Witt, who will join the Dragons for pre-season training next week, played 43 games for the Warriors - and scored the winning try in the side's famous playoff victory over the Storm in 2008.

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