NRL 2021: NZ Warriors herald Ken Maumalo before 100th game

NZ Warriors' round five NRL clash against Manly Sea Eagles on Friday night will take on a special meaning for the club, marking Ken Maumalo's 100th game for the Kiwi side.

Maumalo, 26, will become the club's 25th centurion at Gosford, joining the likes of Francis Meli, Manu Vatuvei and teammate David Fusitu'a as wingers to reach the mark.

After a difficult start to his NRL career, where he struggled with inconsistency and earning a regular spot in the team, Maumalo has become one of the Warriors' key players in recent seasons, forming arguably one of the strongest back threes in the NRL, alongside Fusitu'a and captain Roger Tuivasa-Sheck.

So far, Maumalo has scored 37 tries for the Warriors and was named the NRL's Dally M Winger of the Year in 2019.

As coach Justin Morgan says, the team has spent this week's build-up acknowledging Maumalo's achievement.

"The club does a great job of those big milestones," Morgan says. "Obviously, the 50-gamers are great as well, but when a player gets to 100, that's a pretty big effort. 

"Considering the way Kenny started his career - to be fair it was a little bit scratchy, in and out of the team for a little while - he's worked really hard.

"The boys will be pumped. He got his jersey presented to him by his partner and his young child that were here.

"They always put on a good feed for 100 games. There was some beautiful steak and chicken, bit of vegetables - it saved me from buying lunch, which was good."

"It's a great occasion for Kenny to play 100 games."

NRL 2021: NZ Warriors herald Ken Maumalo before 100th game

Maumalo's teammates weren't the only ones paying tribute either, with his family also joining in the acknowledgement of what he's achieved.

"Dan Floyd and Joe Williams did a great job. They flew Kenny's brother - who he hasn't seen for five years - up from Melbourne, along with, I think, his nephew came up as well.

"We had a great highlights package from all those great tries that Kenny's scored over the years.

"It was a nice, moving moment for Ken to listen to those messages from his family. A lot of the messages were in Samoan as well.

"You could tell it was really resonating with Kenny. It was a nice touch that, to hear from his family and friends.

"From a footy point of view, the best part is listening to ex-teammates or ex-players, or people that have played a big part in his life - including his mum and dad, he had a number of other family members on the video call - wishing him and congratulating him on what he's achieved."

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