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The Vodafone Warriors have passed on their condolences to Luke Tipene's family after the talented 17-year-old lost his life outside a Grey Lynn house in Auckland overnight.
Police have announced a homicide investigation has been launched.
Vodafone Warriors academy and pathways manager Duane Mann spoke to Tipene's family this morning to pass on condolences on behalf of the club.
"This is awful for Luke's family as well as all of us at the club," Mann said.
"We’re absolutely devastated and are all trying to come to terms with what has happened.
"We held Luke in the highest regard. He was a player with real ability who was just starting out on his dream of becoming a professional rugby league player.
"He’d come through our development system and had been contracted to our NYC squad next season.
"To lose someone so young with so much talent is terrible."
A hooker or loose forward, Tipene played for the Glenora Bears and was named the Auckland Rugby League’s Under-17 player of the year after his club side won the under-17 premiership this season. He was also selected for the New Zealand Maori Under-17 side and was named in the New Zealand Under-17 merit team.
Tipene, educated at Nga Kakano o te Kaihanga Kura in Henderson, was fluent in Te Reo.
Vodafone Warriors players have been expressing their sympathies through their social media accounts.