Halfback Pita Godinet and forward Saulala Houma have joined hooker Aaron Heremaia in being upgraded from trial contracts to fulltime NRL deals with the New Zealand Warriors.
Warriors recruitment manager Dean Bell today confirmed the pair had signed one-year contracts for 2011 with an option for 2012.
Just as 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 in Auckland last October when 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 (NZRL) national competition. He was named the resident player of the year at the NZRL awards.
Bell said the signings were an 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.
Warriors coach Ivan Cleary said Godinet and Houma 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."
The Warriors' opening match in the 2011 NRL competition is against Parramatta at Auckland's Eden Park on March 12.