Chanel Harris-Tavita has sensationally confirmed he will return to the NRL at the start of the 2024 season.
Harris-Tavita stepped away from the sport at the end of the 2023 season, citing the need to take a break from the sport at the age of just 23 with 54 games under his belt for the Warriors.
He played for Samoa at the Rugby League World Cup at the end of last year as what seemed to be his final foray in the sport at the professional level, having debuted in 2019.
But the Warriors have today confirmed Harris-Tavita will rejoin the club for the next two seasons, playing for the Auckland-based outfit until at least the end of 2025.
“Chanel was only 23 when he made an incredibly brave decision to take time out from the game,” New Zealand Warriors general manager recruitment, pathways and development Andrew McFadden said in a club statement.
“But, while he wanted to experience life away from training as a professional athlete, the door was always open to him if he wanted to return to the Warriors.
“We stayed in touch and as soon as he arrived home we met to talk about a contract from next season.
“Chanel is a quality player and, at just 24, he still has a lot of football in front of him.
“He's refreshed, loves the Warriors and is really excited about what's happening in all areas at the club. He wants to be part of it and to contribute.”
Harris-Tavita's signing comes at an intriguing time for the Warriors, who are currently deliberating over the future of off-contract veteran Shaun Johnson.
It's unclear whether the Warriors have already put an offer on the table for Johnson, who has found red-hot form this season.
Given Luke Metcalf, Te Maire Martin and Ronald Volkman are all in line for a halves spot at the Warriors next year as well, the signing of Harris-Tavita could put writing on the wall for Johnson.
Harris-Tavita joins Roger Tuivasa-Sheck as a returning Warrior for next season, with the club building to their spine that has them sitting in the top eight as the halfway point of the 2023 season approaches.