New Zealand Warriors players Taniela Otukolo and Otukinekina Kepu have been released from their contracts by the club.
It's a surprise move from the Warriors, with both players having made their way through the junior ranks of the Auckland-based club.
Otukolo has made nine NRL appearances since his debut in 2021, with the hooker playing back up to multiple options during that time, while Kepu was likely to debut this year and is at the club alongside brother Valingi Kepu.
The dummy half was off-contract at the end of this season, while Kepu was set to remain with the Warriors until at least the end of the 2024 season.
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Making the moves all the more surprising is that they had both endured the Warriors' time in Australia, playing Queensland Cup and junior colts competition for the Redcliffe Dolphins while they were linked with the Warriors as a feeder club.
“We appreciate their contribution during their time with us and wish them all the best for the future,” Warriors general manager of recruitment and pathways Andrew McFadden said in a statement.
The surprise move opens up two new roster spots for the Warriors, although it's unclear who they would likely use them on.
The Auckland-based club, who are moving back to New Zealand full-time this season, have had one of the biggest roster turnovers since last year, with 15 players departing from the squad who started the 2022 season.
The most likely option to replace the duo in the Top 30 will be to promote two of the club's development players, in second-rower Jacob Laban, centre Ali Leiataua, second-rower Zyon Maiu'u or lock Demitric Sifakula.