The New Zealand Warriors are producing some of the most talented and exciting juniors in rugby league, but their recruitment manager, Dean Bell, deserves as much praise for what he’s brought to the table in 2011.
While Greg Inglis was the highest-profile signing of the season, not many will argue that Feleti Mateo has been the buy of the year.
Mateo and Krisnan Inu joined the Warriors from Parramatta this season as part of a package deal and, while the latter is only just starting to repay the faith with some breakthrough performances in the finals, Mateo has been one of their best all season.
His former reserve-grade coach, Craig Culnane, has helped develop some exceptional talent – including Inu, Jarryd Hayne, Kris Keating and Trent Hodkinson – but the one who stands out as the best he’s ever coached is the man set to wear the No. 11 jersey for the Warriors on Sunday.
Spare a thought for Parramatta coach Stephen Kearney. Mateo and Inu were released when Daniel Anderson was still at the helm, just weeks before Kearney signed.