The Canberra Raiders have made a big move in the contract market, signing young gun hooker Stanley Iongi.
Formerly of the New Zealand Warriors, Iongi took up a contract with the Brisbane Tigers ahead of the 2022 season in an effort to play his way into an NRL system.
The Brisbane Tigers are one of the Melbourne Storm's feeder clubs.
His manager Dixon McIver told Zero Tackle at the time that he had become lost in the Warriors system thanks to COVID.
"He is one of many talented kids over here (in New Zealand) who got lost in the Junior Warriors system during COVID," McIver said.
A big part of the Auckland Blue side who made the grand final in the under-20s NZRL competition during 2021, it's understood the Raiders have targetted Iongi in large part thanks to their own hooking worries, with Josh Hodgson to depart for the Parramatta Eels in 2023, and Tom Starling facing an uncertain future due to off-field problems.
McIver has confirmed to Zero Tackle that Iongi's deal with the Raiders is a two-year pathway deal, meaning he won't be included in the development or Top 30 squad, and will be ineligible to play first-grade this season without an upgrade.
According to Wide World of Sports, McIver said the Brisbane Tigers were excellent in releasing Iogni for a better deal.
"They were great about it," McIver told the publication.
"They wanted Stanley in their club but they recognised he had a much better opportunity at Canberra and let him go - I can't speak highly enough of them."
He will almost certainly start the season in the under-19 SG Ball competition before transitioning into the Jersey Flegg set up.