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Warriors sign Jesse Royal

Former Newcastle prop Jesse Royal has boosted the Vodafone Warriors' stocks of experienced front rowers by signing a two-year contract with the club.
Warriors sign Jesse Royal
by NRL

Former Newcastle prop Jesse Royal has boosted the Vodafone Warriors' stocks of experienced front rowers by signing a two-year contract with the club.

The 28-year-old from Ngaruawahia might have thought his NRL days were over when he ended a 29-game first-grade career with the Knights at the end of the 2008 season.

He was working in the coalmines in Newcastle and eyeing a campaign with local club Kurri Kurri this year but, in a matter of days, the 1.93m, 107kg front rower will leave the mines behind as he looks to extend his top-grade career with his third NRL club.

Due to arrive in Auckland this weekend, Royal had been on the Vodafone Warriors' radar.

"With Ruben (Wiki) finishing up last year, we obviously lost so much experience in the front row," said Vodafone Warriors chief executive Wayne Scurrah.

"We've got some really talented young players coming through like Russell Packer, Leeson Ah Mau and Mataupu Poching but we were lacking some depth in terms of more seasoned players.

"We were looking for someone to fill the gap left by Ruben and work alongside Steve (Price), Sam (Rapira) and Evarn (Tuimavave). Another factor in signing Jesse now is Evarn's neck injury which will keep him on the sideline for the start of the season.

"We're delighted to secure Jesse and equally pleased that we're able to bring another New Zealand player home."

Jesse Te Ahukaramu Royal was a chef in the New Zealand Army based at Linton when he resigned in 2003 to take up a contract with the Penrith Panthers. After starting out with the Ngaruawahia Panthers and Turangawaewae in his junior days, he played with the Linton Cobras in the Manawatu competition and turned out for the Central Falcons in the Bartercard Cup in 2003. That year Royal was selected in the New Zealand A side.

He spent the 2004 season playing for Penrith's feeder club the St Mary's Cougars in the New South Wales Premier League before signing with Newcastle for the 2005 season.

After existing on a diet of more premier league football, he made his NRL debut against Cronulla in 2007, playing 10 games that year and going on to appear 19 times last year, mostly as a starting prop.

Royal and his wife Kylie - they met in the Army - have two pre-school boys Matarae and Tumai.

Born: March 22, 1980
Birthplace: Hamilton, NZ
Position: Prop
Height: 193cm
Weight: 107kg
Junior Clubs: Ngaruawahia Panthers, Turangawaewae
Other Clubs: Linton Cobras (Manawatu), Central Falcons (Bartercard Cup)
NRL Clubs: Penrith Panthers 2004, Newcastle Knights 2005-2008
NRL Debut: Newcastle v Cronulla, EnerbyAustralia Stadium, April 30, 2007 (Round 7)
NRL Career: Newcastle Knights: 29 games, 2007-2008
NRL Points: 12 (3 tries)
Representative: New Zealand A 2003
Educated: Ngaruawahia High School

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