NRL Rd 1 - Warriors v Dragons
SUNSHINE COAST, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 12: Dallin Watene-Zelezniak of the Warriors is congratulated by team mates after scoring a try during the round one NRL match between the New Zealand Warriors and the St George Illawarra Dragons at Sunshine Coast Stadium, on March 12, 2022, in Sunshine Coast, Australia. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

The New Zealand Warriors have confirmed the re-signing of Dallin Watene-Zelezniak on a new one-year deal.

While the veteran winger who was named to the 2023 Dally M team of the year was already contracted for 2024, he has added 12 months to that time period on the first day where players off-contract at the end of next season could negotiate with rivals.

It means the 28-year-old now has his future locked down for the next two seasons, and is one step closer to rounding out his career with the Auckland-based outfit.

“Dallin has made a tremendous impact on and off the field since joining us in the challenging times when we were based in Australia,” New Zealand Warriors general manager recruitment, pathways and development Andrew McFadden said in a statement confirming the contract extension.

“Like a number of players, he really flourished once we returned home for the 2023 season.”

Watene-Zelezniak has been with the Warriors since midway through 2021, having spent the previous seven years with the Penrith Panthers, and then the Canterbury Bulldogs.

The winger, who scored 49 tries in his first 143 games for those two clubs, has since added 37 tries in 47 games for the Warriors, including 24 in 2020 during 2023 which was a career-best year for the veteran winger, who also averaged 153 metres per game and added 80 tackle breaks in 2023.

Coach Andrew Webster said Watene-Zelezniak had "stood out" in 2023.

“What Dallin showed to everyone is how much it meant for him and his family being back in New Zealand,” Webster said.

“He stood out as one of the best wingers in the competition, if not the best.

“His yardage carries were unbelievable while the tries, and the way he scored so many of them, were the icing on the cake.

“Not only that, his defence came a long way with how reliable he is, understanding where he's got to be for the team, to make the right decision.”