Dallin Watene-Zelezniak has informed Canterbury Bulldogs teammates he has played his last game for the club, with the Kiwis captain set to join the Warriors on a three-and-a-half-year deal.
Watene-Zelezniak addressed the Bulldogs in the sheds following the side's 36-10 loss to the Parramatta Eels in Sydney on Sunday, as the 25-year-old was granted an early release from his contract in order to link up with the Warriors immediately.
The versatile outside back had fallen out of favour at the Bulldogs after joining from the Penrith Panthers in 2019, having played just nine of the side's 14 games in 2021 – all of which were losses. He last featured in round 12 in late May in a 30-4 loss to Penrith.
In 37 appearances for the Bulldogs, he scored just eight tries – five of those coming this season. However, he was a proven try scorer in his time at Penrith, scoring 41 tries in 106 appearances. He had the best year of his NRL career in 2016, scoring 12 tries in 26 appearances for the Panthers.
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Watene-Zelezniak was reportedly farewelled by the Bulldogs with a haka, led by former New Zealand Māori representative and Bulldogs welfare manager Luke Goodwin.
His departure from the club is the latest move in an ever-growing list of mid-season acquisitions. Last week, the Warriors said farewell to long-time winger Ken Maumalo, who was released from his contract to take up an offer with Wests Tigers – but not before scoring a hat-trick in his final game for the Warriors.
Watene-Zelezniak's is a move many expected after the Bulldogs secured the services of Melbourne wing Josh Addo-Carr and Penrith duo Matt Burton (half/centre) and Brent Naden (wing/centre) for 2022 and beyond.
In joining the Warriors, Watene-Zelezniak is expected to be a prominent figure on the wing. While he has played most of his recent football at fullback, young superstar Reece Walsh – another mid-season signing by the Warriors – has the No1 jersey locked down moving forward.