Teen freak backflips on $2.7m NRL deal
TEENAGE sensation Tino Fa'asuamaleaui has rejected a $2.7 million deal with the New Zealand Warriors, instead signing with the Gold Coast Titans, Fox Sports reports.
Having signed a three-year $2 million deal on Thursday, the 19-year-old will join the Gold Coast in 2021 after his contract expires with the Melbourne Storm.
It was earlier rumoured Fa'asuamaleaui had verbally agreed to a four-year deal with the Warriors, but it would seem he has turned down the proposed $2.7 million contract.
NRL.com reported the Warriors deal never came to fruition, with the 19-year-old instead choosing the Gold Coast.
The New Zealand Herald reported that the deal was not yet confirmed, with Warrior recruitment manager Peter O'Sullivan telling the paper that nothing had been signed and saying the reports were a "complete fallacy".
"He is a player that we are interested in and he would be a great addition to our roster," O'Sullivan told the Herald.
"But a lot of factors go into these kind of decisions and nothing is confirmed at all. There's a process that Tino has to go through and he has some decisions to make."
O'Sullivan said the Warriors had tabled an offer and were already looking for an extension, and that the side had offered a contract "appropriate" to Fa'asuamaleaui's value on the open market.
The Junior Kangaroos representative is one of the hottest young properties in rugby league - Fa'asuamaleaui made his NRL debut for the Storm in Round 16 this year and played five games off the bench.
The 197cm, 107kg second rower made 77 tackles and missed only two during his brief stint with the Melbourne-based club in 2019.
The Storm have also proved to be a thorn in the side of the deal with the club unlikely to release the youngster, meaning he'll be available only from the 2021 season onwards.
The contract with the Titans is a coup for Justin Holbrook. The coach is looking to fill the void left by Jai Arrow, who is being heavily linked to the South Sydney Rabbitohs.
The Daily Telegraph and Sydney Morning Herald say Souths are confident of convincing Arrow to come to Redfern for the 2020 season to fill the void of the retired Sam Burgess.
The Titans are coming to the table with big guns, however, asking for a player and money in return for the early release of Arrow for the 2020 season.
Fa'asuamaleaui made his Test debut for Samoa in November, facing Fiji during a 44-18 loss in Auckland.
The Storm's first encounter of 2020 will be against the Manly Sea Eagles in an away fixture on Sunday, March 15.