NRL: Wests Tigers re-sign exciting youngster Stefano Utoikamanu

Jasper BruceNCA NewsWire
Not Supplied
Camera IconNot Supplied Credit: Supplied

The Wests Tigers have extended the contract of State of Origin hopeful Stefano Utoikamanu until 2025 in another shrewd recruitment decision made under Tim Sheens’ watch.

Utoikamanu had a breakout season in 2021, playing 21 first grade games and earning a call-up to the extended NSW Blues squad for Game Three of the State of Origin series.

The barnstorming prop had been contracted through to the end of next season, but the Tigers opted to renew his deal ahead of time.

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21-year-old Utoikamanu joined the Tigers from the Eels in 2021. NRL Photos
Camera Icon21-year-old Utoikamanu joined the Tigers from the Eels in 2021. NRL Photos Credit: Supplied

“We’re all very pleased to see Stefano re-sign with Wests Tigers,” said head coach Michael Maguire.

“His decision to commit his future to Wests Tigers further highlights what we are building at the club and I’m sure that Stefano will play a big part in delivering that.

“He has continued to work hard at all aspects of his game, and I look forward to seeing him continue to improve over the coming seasons.”

“I love this club,” said Utoikamanu.

“They’ve given me a big opportunity last year to become a better player.

“This year’s an even bigger year for me. I want to start strong and hopefully reap the rewards.”

Utoikamanu will be crucial to the Tigers’ hopes of playing finals footy for the first time in a decade. NRL Images
Camera IconUtoikamanu will be crucial to the Tigers’ hopes of playing finals footy for the first time in a decade. NRL Images Credit: Supplied

The Wests Tigers’ only premiership-winning coach, Sheens was initially appointed head of football performance in June last year.

After Maguire survived the intense scrutiny of yet another year without the club playing finals footy, Sheens was named director of football and got to work on the struggling side’s roster in the off-season.

Since then, the club has secured the services of dual premiership-winner and Origin star Apisai Koroisau.

They’ve also pounced on Isaiah Papali’i, one of the league’s most improved players last season, and lured club legend Benji Marshall back to Concord as an official ambassador.

Koroisau and Papali’i will join the Tigers from 2023 and loom as huge signings for a club that has struggled to snare top-quality talent in recent times.

Tigers CEO Justin Pascoe said the club was pleased to confirm Utoikamanu was also a part of its long-term future.

“On behalf of all at Wests Tigers, I’d like to congratulate Stefano on his contract extension that will see him remain at the club for the next four seasons,” Pascoe said.

“He is a great young man who constantly displays all the core values we want Wests Tigers to be known by, and I look forward to watching him play a leading role in the success of this club moving forward.”

Originally published as NRL: Wests Tigers re-sign exciting youngster Stefano Utoikamanu

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