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Current Status: 24/7 Manly Fan
Warriors Announce Trio of Signings

Tuesday, July 18, 2006 - 5:04 PM

Manly utility Michael Witt is joining the Vodafone Warriors on a one-year deal for the 2007 season and rookies Patrick Ah Van and Sam Rapira have signed new upgraded three-year contracts.

In announcing the trio of signings today, Vodafone Warriors head coach Ivan Cleary said the club’s first-grade roster for next season was now almost completed.

“They’re signings that really help us to build depth in our squad,” he said.

“In Michael we have a player who has the ability to play in both positions in the halves as well as being a quality goal kicker.

“And with Patrick and Sam it’s clear we have players with great futures in the game.

“As rookies they’ve both impressed in first-grade football, Patrick mainly on the wing but also at fullback as we saw last weekend, and Sam coming into the side as an interchange prop.

“They’ve looked comfortable at this level from the moment they first came into the side.”

Born on New Year’s day, 1984, Witt (22) has had a lean season at NRL level this year with just one appearance for the Sea Eagles after being used 19 times in 2005.

“With Matt Orford arriving at Manly this year it hasn’t been one of my best seasons,” he said from Sydney.

“I’ve been in premier league all year but believe I can still make a contribution at first-grade level. That’s why I’m coming to the Vodafone Warriors. I want to have a chance of playing in the NRL again.”

Ah Van and Rapira both graduated from the Allied Work Force elite development programme to train full-time with the NRL squad this year. Ah Van (18) made his first-grade debut in the round five clash against Manly when Manu Vatuvei was injured; Rapira (19) was first called on against Wests Tigers in May when captain Steve Price was on State or Origin duty.

Ah Van has gone on to make nine appearances since – and score two tries – while Rapira has played four games. Now they’ve both signed upgraded deals taking them

through to the end of the 2009 NRL season.

While Ah Van and Rapira are just starting out, Vodafone Warriors newcomer Witt is will be trying to start all over again despite 47 NRL matches so far. Previously a Parramatta first grader in 2003-04, he adds to the Queensland component at the club and isn’t at all concerned about making the shift across the Tasman.

“I made the move to Sydney from home years ago so it’s not an issue to me at all moving away from family,” he said.

“When I came down to Sydney to become a Parramatta junior I was only 16 and had two years playing S G Ball and Jersey Flegg before moving up.”

He’ll also move into an environment where at least two faces will be familiar to him. New Vodafone Warriors fullback Wade McKinnon was a team-mate when he was at the Eels and he also knows Price.

“Like Steve, I’m from Toowoomba. He coached me in the under sevens at the Newtown Lions, which was also his junior club at home, and I went to the same school he’d been to, Harristown State High School.”

Witt’s also well known to the Vodafone Warriors, scoring 24 points against them from two tries and eight goals in the Eels’ 48-18 win at Parramatta Stadium in 2004.

He has an older brother Steve who was also a Parramatta junior before playing first-grade football for Newcastle.

As for the surname – which, he says, is of German extraction – he accepts it leads to all sorts of nicknames and plays on words for headline writers, some not overly complimentary.

“But I’ve learnt to live with it. I don’t have much choice.”
Source: NRL
Man - and you guys have a go at ME for being negative. He bust his little gut for us in 05, and took us to the finals along with Monaghan.
At least he will be playing 1st grade. Time for Halden or Groom to step up.
A few over at Parra must be laughing. I personally liked Witt and he played well up until the St G game last year. However he was found out that day and has never really recaptured that form. So much of defence is confidence.

No great loss to us as he is playing Reggies and wasn't likely to make the grade. Good luck to him.
Seriously after the Knights game he would have had the NPA next to his name on Des' team sheet.
Team P W L PD Pts
10 9 1 124 20
10 8 2 81 18
10 7 3 70 16
10 7 3 69 16
11 7 4 59 14
10 6 4 -10 14
11 6 5 107 12
11 6 5 -9 12
10 5 5 -56 12
11 5 5 30 11
10 4 6 15 10
11 5 6 -12 10
11 4 6 -7 9
10 3 7 -103 8
10 2 8 -81 6
10 2 8 -91 6
10 1 9 -186 4
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