NRL: NZ Warriors rookie Taine Tuaupiki earns fulltime contract after star turn in pre-season trial

NZ Warriors rookie Taine Tuaupiki has been awarded a fulltime contract, confirming the promise he showed during the second-tier Queensland Cup competition last year.

Born in Sydney, but raised in the Waikato town of Taharoa - the same hometown as teammate Te Maire Martin - Tauaupiki, 23, won the Petero Civoniceva Medal as the Queensland Cup's Best and Fairest Player, as well as claiming Rookie of the Year honours and scoring 14 tries for Burleigh Bears.

He came to the Warriors last November on a train-and-trial contract and has impressed club officials, culminating in a star performance during 48-12 pre-season win over Wests Tigers this week.

Taine Tuaupiki at Warriors training
Taine Tuaupiki at Warriors training. Photo credit: Photosport

"We had agreed on terms earlier in the week and what we saw from him in the trial just reinforced what a qualify player he is," said Warriors recruitment, development and pathways general manager Andrew McFadden.

"We've been thrilled with Taine from the moment he came to the club," said Warriors coach Andrew Webster. "He fully deserves this chance, after the work he had done while on a trial contract.

"He brings a special dimension to our squad and certainly has the ability to debut in the NRL soon."

Tuaupiki's next chance to impress will come next Sunday, when the Warriors face Melbourne Storm in their second pre-season hitout, before their opener against Newcastle Knights on March 3.