New Vodafone Warriors centre Euan Aitken has good reason to be excited about reuniting with one particular player – and a fellow new signing – he labels a wrecking ball.
Aitken’s talking about powerhouse Mate Ma’a Tonga and former Manly Warringah prop Addin Fonua-Blake who, with Aitken, is among seven players the Vodafone Warriors have added to their 2021 roster.
The 25-year-old Scotland international Aitken traces his connection with Fonua-Blake back to the days when they were St George Illawarra NYC under-20 teammates in 2013 and 2014. In the latter season they were also international opponents when Aitken lined up for the Junior Kangaroos and Fonua-Blake for the Junior Kiwis when the New Zealanders won 15-14.
“I’m excited to link back up with Addin,” Aitken said when asked by warriors.com which players he was especially looking forward to teaming up with.
“He’s a wrecking ball. We played a lot of under-20s together.”
Aitken, usually a left edge centre, said he was also keen to play alongside halfback Chanel Harris-Tavita, who heads up the Vodafone Warriors’ attack on that side of the field.
“Roger (Tuivasa-Sheck) is another one. He looks like an extremely good captain and I’m looking forward to coming underneath his leadership.
“The team has got so much talent. Hopefully, we can go far next year.”
The way the Vodafone Warriors acquitted themselves in the Covid-19 impacted season left a deep impression on Aitken. He and his Dragons teammates experienced the full emotional force of the sacrifices made and what they meant when the Vodafone Warriors resumed the interrupted campaign with an 18-0 victory over St George Illawarra at Central Coast Stadium on May 30.
“You could see the emotion in the players’ faces in that game,” he said.
“They didn’t have many ball handling errors and made the record for the most completed sets in a row. It was pretty crazy. Obviously, they turned up that day and got the jump on us and got the win.
“I’m excited now to be on the other side of that fence and be with such a proud club as the Warriors.
“The way they handled adversity this season was really impressive, going to another country and being without their families for quite a long time. The way they finished the season was outstanding and gives us lots to build on.”
Aitken said he also “can’t wait for the challenges that lie ahead as I get to visit New Zealand and live in a new country.”
He’s scheduled to begin his preseason training programme with the Vodafone Warriors’ Australia-based contingent in Kiama next Monday (November 30).