AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - AUGUST 10: David Fusitu'a of the Warriors is trybound during the round 22 NRL match between the New Zealand Warriors and the Newcastle Knights at Mt Smart Stadium on August 10, 2018 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)

The New Zealand Warriors have granted star winger David Fusitu'a a release as he pursues an opportunity with the Leeds Rhinos in the English Super League.

The two clubs have both now confirmed the news.

The move completes the dismantling of the former Warriors' back three, with Roger Tuivasa-Sheck having moved to rugby union, and Ken Maumalo a mid-season swap to the Wests Tigers.

Fusitu'a, Maumalo and Tuivasa-Sheck were once one of the more dangerous back threes in the competition, with the Warriors able to be on the front foot thanks to their strong ball-running.

The 27-year-old has suffered from a severe form decline though following injuries and the COVID pandemic forcing him at times out of the squad altogether.

He has played just 12 games in the last two years, scoring a single try in 2020 and none in his five 2021 appearances for the Warriors as other young talent moved into his position.

While the Warriors haven't signed any talent in the outside backs for 2022, they have held onto Rocco Berry and Adam Pompey, who have re-signed until the end of 2024 and 2023 respectively, while Dallin Watene-Zelezniak is also in the squad.

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - OCTOBER 09: Kiwis coach Michael Maguire (R) and captain Dallin Watene-Zelezniak (L) during a New Zealand Kiwis press conference at Mt Smart Stadium on October 9, 2018 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)

All up, he has scored 61 tries in his 108 appearances.

It has been understood the Warriors weren't actively pushing Fusitu'a out of the club, but announced the decision on Monday afternoon.

“David has an opportunity to secure his future in the United Kingdom and wants the chance to make a fresh start,” said Vodafone Warriors recruitment manager Peter O’Sullivan.

“He has had a difficult time in 2020 and 2021 but, at his best, he is one of the leading outside backs in the game. Going to the Super League gives him the chance to rediscover his form.

“As our longest-serving Vodafone Warriors player he has made a huge contribution to the club. We thank him for his service and wish David and his family all the best for the future.”

Leeds also confirmed his signature in a statement, with head coach Richard Agar saying it would be an exciting addition.

“We are really excited to have signed David and I think he will be a great addition to our team," Agar said.

"Undoubtedly, he is a world-class talent, you only need to look at his highlights reel and see the spectacular tries he can score to know he will soon become a crowd favourite at the Rhinos.

In the modern era, it is rare that a player of his ability becomes available for a Super League club and it is a great boost for us to have beaten off competition from a number of clubs to have secured his signature."

“He is still only 27 and, whilst we understand the reasons why he has not played as much football as he would have liked last season, having spoken to him, he is keen to return to his best in a Rhinos shirt.