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Godinet And Houma Secure NRL Contracts

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Fuseworks Media
Godinet And Houma Secure NRL Contracts

Halfback Pita Godinet and forward Saulala Houma have followed hooker Aaron Heremaia's example by being upgraded from trial contracts to full-time NRL deals with the Vodafone Warriors.

Vodafone Warriors recruitment manager Dean Bell today confirmed the pair had been signed on one-year NRL contracts for 2011 with an option for 2012.

Like Heremaia did three years ago, Christchurch-born Godinet (23) and Houma (20) were signed on trial contracts with the NRL squad for the off-season training programme ahead of the 2011 competition.

Godinet was a standout for the Auckland Vulcans in their 2010 New South Wales Cup campaign, making the competition's team of the year as well as being named the Vulcans' player of the year. His career highlight, though, was making his Test debut for Samoa against the Kiwis at Mount Smart Stadium last October (he scored Samoa's only try).

Houma, a recent rugby league convert from rugby union, starred for the Mount Albert Lions in the Auckland club competition last year and also excelled for the champion Auckland team in the New Zealand Rugby League's national competition. He was named the Resident Player of the Year at the NZRL Awards.

Bell said the signings were another example of the pathways in place for resident players.

"While we are always looking out for quality players offshore, we are committed to giving players in our own country every opportunity," he said.

"We obviously have a major focus on developing young players through our system with a view to them playing in the NYC but we are also keen to promote players outside that age group.

"With Aaron and now Pita earning NRL contracts we have seen the benefits available through playing for the Vulcans in the New South Wales Cup while Saulala shows what can achieved by coming through local football."

Vodafone Warriors coach Ivan Cleary said the two players had done everything asked of them.

"They both have obvious potential and they've earned this opportunity," he said.

"They've worked hard throughout the off-season to be where they are and they've also produced good signs in the trials.

"It's great for the club and also for the game locally that they've come through like this. In Pita's case, just like Aaron (Heremaia), it also shows the value of the Vulcans playing in the New South Wales Cup."

Godinet and Houma both appeared for Vodafone Warriors for the first time in the February 5 trial against Newcastle in Greymouth, Godinet making his mark with one try and a hand in two others while Houma also impressed. Godinet was used again against the Eels in Rotorua and both players appeared in last Saturday's trial against Burleigh in Whangarei.

Godinet moved to Auckland at a young age after starting his rugby league playing days with Sydenham and Woolston in Christchurch. With his 20th birthday falling in December 2007, he was denied the chance of trying to gain a place in the inaugural Vodafone Warriors NYC squad for the 2008 season. Also a talented tag football player, he focused instead on playing for Vulcans while pursuing his NRL dream, now a step closer after his signing.

Houma, 187cm and 112kg, took up rugby league only about two years ago after being introduced to the game while in Australia with friends. Formerly a loose forward with the Kelston Boys' High School First XV - he also played sevens - he has an older brother who plays union for Suburbs in Auckland while his younger brother Malaki (18) is in the Vodafone Warriors' development system and has been used during the Vodafone Junior Warriors' trials programme this month.

PITA GODINET

Born: December 21, 1987

Birthplace: Christchurch, New Zealand

Position: Halfback

Height: 177cm

Weight: 85kg Junior Clubs: Sydenham, Woolston (Christchurch)

Other Clubs: Auckland Vulcans, Richmond Rovers

NRL: Yet to make debut

Representative: One Test for Samoa 2010

SAULALA HOUMA

Born: October 18, 1990

Birthplace: Auckland, New Zealand

Position: Prop/Second Row

Height: 187cm

Weight: 112kg Junior Club: Ponsonby Ponies (rugby union), Kelston Boys' High School (rugby union)

Other Clubs: Mount Albert Lions

NRL: Yet to make debut

Representative: New Zealand Residents 2010

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