All Blacks Sevens star William Warbrick has signed an NRL deal with Melbourne Storm.
Warbrick, 23, has fended off offers from other NRL sides to take up the contract, leaving the sevens circuit behind after COVID-19 logistical issues.
"With COVID nowadays, sevens involves a lot of travelling, and going in and out of countries," Warbrick has revealed to Newshub. "COVID has sort of created some challenges with that.
Warbrick rose to the national sevens programme, as a Most Valuable Player at the 2018 Ignite7 series and made his international debut at Cape Town the following year.
At 1.94m and 100kg, he was part of the team that won silver medals at the Tokyo Olympics.
"For me to have the opportunity to go to the Olympics, compete and win a silver medal, I'm extremely grateful," Warbrick says.
But now he has arrived in Australia he’s ready for the 13-man game.
"It's going to be a big challenge, coming from a union/sevens background and then transitioning back into the 13s game," he says.
"I've got a few goals in mind - first is getting into the squad, getting my first cap in first grade. That's my only goal at the moment.
"I'd love to put on the black jersey," admits Warbrick.
The Storm are excited at his potential.
"We wouldn't sign anyone, if we didn't think they could play first grade,'' Storm head of recruitment Paul Bunn tells Newshub. "If he adapts well , then we might see a lot of first grade in him."
Impressed most by his physical attributes.
"He's great in the air, has quick feet and a great fend... he has a massive fend," says Bunn.
Warbrick has represented New Zealand in AFL and sevens, and now he’s eying the black jersey in a different sport.