Manly Warringah Sea Eagles have today secured arguably the best forward in rugby league with the signing of New Zealand international Martin Taupau.
In a stunning coup, 25-year-old Taupau will join the Sea Eagles from 2016 on a four-year deal in one of the club's biggest signings since Malcolm Reilly.
“This is a fantastic opportunity for me to play in a strong team alongside some of the game’s biggest names in Jamie Lyon, Brett Stewart, Daly Cherry-Evans, Peta Hiku and Steve Matai,’’ Taupau said.
“The Sea Eagles have recruited well for next season and to have the opportunity to play with Australian and Queensland prop Nate Myles, and fellow Kiwi international Lewis Brown, was an added bonus in securing my future with Manly.
“It is a fresh beginning at the Sea Eagles under new Head Coach Trent Barrett and I’m really looking forward to playing under him.
“The Sea Eagles are one of the most successful clubs in the history of rugby league and I want to be a big part in getting them back into the finals next season as they celebrate their 70th Anniversary.”
Manly chairman Scott Penn said the signing of Taupau elevated the Sea Eagles chances of returning quickly to one of the top teams in the NRL.
"Most would agree that Martin Taupau is one of the most dominant forwards in the game,’’ Penn said.
"He is young and experienced. His signing is a tribute to our off field team who have done a magnificent job in securing his services.
"Head coach Trent Barrett has been across negotiations and played an important role as did Football consultant Bob Fulton.
"Our 2016 Membership campaign has already seen a significant increase on last year and Martin's signing is sure to give our Members further confidence about the year ahead."
Manly Warringah Head Coach Trent Barrett welcomed the announcement of Taupau’s signing.
“Marty is a very damaging and aggressive forward who can certainly win you a game,’’ Barrett said.
“He has really come on over the past 12 months and I am looking forward to developing his game. We are still yet to see the very best of Marty and it is great that he will have the opportunity to take his skills to another level at the Sea Eagles.”
Manly Warringah CEO, Joe Kelly, said Taupau’s signing really added to an already impressive forward pack.
“To have secured one of the very best forwards in the competition is a real coup for the Sea Eagles,’’ Kelly said.
“Marty has made a great impact in such a short time and he has a real cult following in the game.
“It is going to be a great forward pack with the likes of Nate Myles, Lewis Brown, Jake Trbojevic and now Martin Taupau. We look forward to welcoming Martin to the Sea Eagles family.”
Taupau is currently in England with the New Zealand Kiwis with 2016 Manly team mates Lewis Brown and Peta Hiku.
He will join the Sea Eagles before the team breaks for Christmas/New Year.
Born: 3/02/1990, Auckland, NZ
Junior Club: Padstow Panthers/Greenacre Tigers
Rep Honours: 6 Tests NZ (2014-15)
Previous Clubs: Canterbury (2010-13), Wests Tigers (2014-15)
FG Debut: Canterbury v Warriors, ANZ Stadium, 10/04/10