Michael Burgess is a sports writer for the Herald on Sunday.

NRL: Warriors grab Gold Coast Titans forward Leivaha Pulu

Leivaha Pulu of the Titans on the charge against Blake Ayshford of the Warriors. Photo / Getty
Leivaha Pulu of the Titans on the charge against Blake Ayshford of the Warriors. Photo / Getty

The Warriors are set to unveil their latest recruit.

It's understood that Tongan international and Gold Coast forward Leivaha Pulu has agreed terms with the club, and will be part of the Warriors roster from 2018 onwards.

As first revealed by the Herald last month, the Warriors were favourites for his signature and after some negotiations have confirmed the deal.

It looks a good move for the Auckland club.

The powerful forward has been monitored by several Sydney clubs and the Titans were also to be keen to hold on to the 27-year-old, after his impressive displays so far this season.

He's not yet a big name - but could become one in the Queen City - and is a welcome signing after the departure of Ben Matulino and Tuesday's setback regarding Kieran Foran.

The 1.92m, 115kg Pulu has an impressive physical presence and has been one of the most improved players in the NRL this season, with his raw power and aggression.

The Auckland-born Pulu is a late bloomer. He came through the Tigers farm system - a graduate of Keebra Park High School on the Gold Coast - but couldn't crack first grade at the Sydney club.

After a few years in the relative wilderness, including an off-season in France, he joined the Wyong Roos.

He spent three seasons at the New South Wales Central Coast club, culminating in a run to the 2015 NSW Cup final.

That form persuaded the Titans to take a chance on Pulu, and he was signed to a basic contract ahead of the 2016 season, before making his NRL debut in round one.

"Looking back France was probably the turning point for me," Pulu told the Herald last week. "

"It may me realise how good it could be - all I did was play footy which was the first time that had happened in my life. That lit the fire."

Pulu has more hunger than most, due to his convoluted journey to first grade. He has worked as a landscaper, forklift driver and a scaffolder during his time in Sydney so will do everything possible to succeed as a professional sportsman.

"I don't know if it makes me want it more but I've certainly done all kinds of jobs," said Pulu. "I've been a jack of all trades...so it helps me understand how lucky I am to be a footballer."

Pulu played 23 NRL matches last year - and was part of the Titans' historic run to the finals - and has been an ever present this year.

He's averaged 50 minutes a match and crossed for two tries in the Titans's 16-12 victory over the Sharks in round eight.

Both Pulu and his wife were born in New Zealand (he moved to Australia when he was 16) and being closer to family is a big appeal of linking with the Warriors.

- NZ Herald

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