Penrith Panthers young gun Isaiya Katoa has been confirmed as the Dolphins eighth top 30 signature for the 2023 season.

First reported yesterday, the young five-eighth, who has impressed playing in the Panthers' junior ranks, has confirmed a three-year deal at the Dolphins which will keep him at the club until at least the end of 2025.

The 18-year-old (who has been officially signed on his birthday), has surprisingly jumped straight into the top 30 squad at the club and is the first spine player the NRL's newest franchise have signed. Their only back with NRL experience signed to date is Jamayne Isaako, although he is far more likely to be used on the wing.

Valynce Te Whare - who will make the shift from rugby - is set to play in the centres.

The move of Katoa to the Dolphins has infuriated the Panthers, who have asked the question "why bother?" training youngsters.

Despite that, Dolphins' CEO Terry Reader expressed his excitement over the deal, highlighting that Katoa will now get to work with super coach Wayne Bennett.

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - OCTOBER 27: Wayne Bennett poses for a photo with the revealing of the Dolphins Heritage Round jersey during a Dolphins NRL press conference at Suncorp Stadium on October 27, 2021 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

“Isaiya is one of the most sought-after young playmakers in the game, so this is a really big coup for the Dolphins,” said Reader.

“We have already built significant depth and experience in our forward pack and there is no doubt that this plays a part in enticing young talent to join our squad.

“We recognise the potential Isaiya has and are excited about what he can become when he begins working with head coach Wayne Bennett every day.”

The backs - Isaako, Katoa and Te Whare - will join a team laden with experienced forwards, with the club having already signed Felise Kaufusi, Jesse Bromwich, Kenneath Bromwich, Mark Nicholls and Ray Stone.

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2 COMMENTS

  1. Hopefully he will be a quality signing for the Dolphins. I had a look at videos of young Te Whare. He’s a solid thing and I’d say he has about 12 months to drop 6-7kg to play NRL in the backs.

    Why bother Brandy? So you end up with the NSW halves pairing while in their early 20s. Quitcha bitchn.

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