Highly-experienced back rower Todd Lowrie has become the second player from the powerful Melbourne Storm franchise to sign for the Vodafone Warriors for the 2013 NRL season and beyond.
Vodafone Warriors recruitment and development manager Dean Bell today confirmed the hard-working Lowrie, who made his 158th NRL appearance on Friday night, will join the Auckland-based club on a two-year deal through to the end of the 2014 season.
His signing comes three months after it was announced Lowrie"s team-mate and Queensland State of Origin representative Dane Nielsen would leave the Storm for the Vodafone Warriors on a three-year contract from next season.
"Coming to Melbourne was great for my career but I"m really excited about the move and about having my future sorted out for the next few years," said Lowrie from Melbourne.
"Now I can get on with focusing on the rest of the season here with the Storm."
Lowrie said a major attraction for signing with the Vodafone Warriors was the club"s home-grown talent pool.
"I"ve always had huge respect for the Warriors as opponents. They"ve been tough rivals for us at the Storm every time we play them," he said.
"I"ve been really impressed with their development programme. There are so many good young players coming through the club and, by using my experience, I"m looking forward to the chance of being able to work with them."
Bell said Lowrie"s signing was critical to the balance of the Vodafone Warriors" 2013 squad.
"We"re losing huge experience in our back row with Micheal Luck retiring as well as Lewis Brown leaving at the end of the season," he said.
"With more than 150 games in the NRL, Todd will be invaluable for us and he"ll be tremendous help for the younger players coming through. He builds our depth in the back row and also makes sure there"s real competition for places."
While he said it wasn"t a key factor in his decision to sign with the Vodafone Warriors, Lowrie was heartened by the knowledge current team-mate Nielsen had also signed.
Lowrie, who turned 29 last month, coincidentally made his 150th NRL appearance in the Storm"s 13th-round 22-12 win against the Vodafone Warriors in Auckland in June.
Born and raised in the small town of Scone in the Hunter region in New South Wales, the 10-season NRL veteran started his career with the Newcastle Knights, playing 57 times for the club from 2003-2006 before a 42-game, three-season stint with Parramatta. Like Nielsen he brings grand final experience to the Vodafone Warriors. Lowrie"s last appearance for the Eels was the 2009 grand final when Nielsen lined up on the wing for Melbourne. They became club-mates in 2010.
Nielsen and Lowrie are joined by highly-experienced Kiwi and Wigan playmaker Thomas Leuluai as the Vodafone Warriors" major new signings. The accomplished Leuluai, a 22-game Vodafone Warrior in 2003-2004, is coming home after eight seasons in the English Super League. He was only 17 when he made his NRL debut against the Bulldogs and wasn"t far past his 18th birthday when he appeared in his first Test for the Kiwis later that year.
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