Released New Zealand Warrior Taniela Otukolo has officially been signed by the Dolphins - on a QLD Cup contract.

Otukolo had a Top 30 deal for the Warriors locked away for the 2023 season, but has left the club after his release was confirmed in pursuit of further opportunities after slipping down the pecking order in Auckland.

He popped up in the Dolphins' first trial team to take on the Central Queensland Capras this weekend in Gladstone, and the Dolphins have since confirmed to Zero Tackle that he has signed with the Redcliffe-based outfit on a reserve grade deal.

It's a surprising twist for Otukolo, who will have given up a guaranteed full-time NRL gig in the hopes form in the QLD Cup could land him with more opportunities to further his career.

Playing just nine games since his 2021 debut, the Tongan-born 20-year-old found himself behind not only Wayde Egan, but also Freddy Lussick heading into 2023.

After spending time in Queensland and at the Dolphins during the pandemic while the Warriors were forced to play away from home, Otukolo will return to the club in 2023, but only with a QLD Cup contract.

Opportunities could present themselves at the Dolphins as well.

While Jeremy Marshall-King is the undisputed number nine following his signing from the Canterbury Bulldogs, the club are skinny in the depth department, and still have a number of spots in their Top 30 up for grabs.

Utility option Kodi Nikorima is the only other player in the current top 30 who could be classed as a hooker, while development player Harrison Graham could also provide back-up, although may not be ready for a first-grade debut this coming season despite his excellent form in Queensland Rugby League competitions.