Teampage


Educated at rugby league powerhouse school St Paul's college, he is the cousine of fellow Warrior and Kiwi internation Nigel Vagana and is related to Silver Fern netball internation Linda Vagana. Joe played his junior football with the Richmond Rovers in the Auckland club comp and also got his league apprenticeship with the North Harbour club in the 1994 Lion Red cup.

By 1995 Joes talents had been recognised and he had signed by the Warriors and on the 18th march 1995 in round 2 of the first ever season Joe ran onto the field off the bench. Joe would go onto play another 115 games for the club before leaving the club for Bradford amid controversy when Eric Watson brought the club from Maori tribe Tainui with neither departing or new owners willing to honor existing contracts.

Despite strong contract offers from other Australian clubs and other ESL clubs Bradford won the race for big Joes signature. such was Joes stature at the club that he began writting columes for several Bradford news papers and also for the Bradford website. In 2006 Joe was awarded the Bulls clubman of the year award and in 2007 big Joe was named in the Bradford team of the century putting him along side of the greatest names to have played rugby league.

In 2008 Joe retired from rugby league and returned home to Auckland where he was coaching the East Coast Bays Barracudas along aside fellow former Warrior and Kiwi Willie Swann.


Club Games Tries Goals FG's Points
North Harbour 16 1 0 0 4
Warriors 115 9 0 0 36
Bradford 220 17 0 0 68

Warriors # 18

Name: VAGANA, Joe
Place of Birth: Auckland
Positions: Prop
Professional clubs: Warriors, Bradford
Club Titles: Bradford champions multiple times
Rep Honors: 27 tests NZ, 2 tests Samoa
43 Years

Nigel Faletoese Vagana is a duet nationallity rugby league internation with 38 tests for New Zealand and Samoa. Nigel captained both New Zealand and Samoa at test levels. Nigel retired from international rugby league as the all time try scorer for New Zealand with 19 tries. Nigel debuted for the Auckland Warriors in round 3 of the 1996 Optus cup season. Nigel comes from a famous sporting family that has produced Silver Fern netball international Linda Vagana and Nigels cousin Joe Vagana who also played for the Warriors, Samoa and New Zealand. Nigel co-holds a 50 year record for the Canterbury Bulldogs with Edgar Newham from 1942 when he scored 5 tries in a match for them against South Sydney. A game won 32 - 6 by the Bulldogs, 19th of April, 2002. Nigel has played professionally for 5 clubs in three countries. Since retirement Nigel has been involved with the game off the field in Australia and New Zealand as a NRL education and welfare officer.

Follow Nigel on Twitter: @NigelVagana

Club Games Tries FG's Goals Points
Warriors 71 37 0 0 148
Warrington 20 17 0 0 68
Canterbury Bulldogs 76 61 0 0 244
Cronulla 61 32 0 0 128
South Sydney 32 10 0 0 40

Warriors # 32

Name: VAGANA, Nigel
Place of Birth: Auckland
Positions: Centre
Professional clubs: Warriors, Warrington, Bulldogs, Sharks, Souths
Rep Honors: 38 tests for NZ, 2 tests for Samoa
42 Years

Simple, factual and to the point, Manu is known universally as "The Beast". 189cm tall and weighing in at an imposing 112kg, Manu's playing position of choice is the wing for both club and country. Manu is the cousin of Japanese test player Luatangi Vatuvei. Manu grew up in Otara and attended Sir Edmund Hillary Collegiate. Manu played his junior football for the Otara Scorpions and later the Otahuhu Leopards in Auckland. Manu progressed to the Otahuhu Ellerslie Leopards as a 16 year old in the Bartercard cup. Manu signed for the Warriors development team as a 16 year old in 2004. The hulking winger burst onto the rugby league big time in 2004 when he lined up for his first game in the NRL against the South Sydney Rabbitohs in round 11. One year later and 17 NRL games later with 4 tries to his name Manu found himself standing opposite the Australian Kangaroos in a test match in Sydney in 2005. The game was won by the Kiwis 38 - 28 and Manu was to go on to play an important roll in the Kiwis first series victory since the 1950's over Australia (Great Britain also played in this series. France played but were not part of the tournament). Manu's career hung in the balance durring a match in Parramatta against the Eels when Manu had a night of nights in which blunder after blunder cost the team the game. A man of lesser charactor could easily have lost all confidence in himself and blown his career there and then. But it is the mark of the man that he picked himself after that night and went onto bigger and better things. Manu's coach should also be congratulated for his show of confidence in Manu after that night. Manu has had injury interupted seasons with 2008 being the first of them when he broke his in late april. Manu lost modt of the 2010 season after a "kamikaze" tackle by Parramatta winger Joseph Loko on Manu left him with a ruptured knee at Eden Park in round 1. In 2012, with absence of regular captain Simon Mannering, Manu was appointed as the clubs NRL captain for several games by then coach Bluey McClennon. Though criticized in some circles for this decision in reality McClennon had very few captaincy options. Lack of form would see Manu over looked by New Zealand test selectors in 2012. Manu is a World Cup, Four Nations and Three Nations winner, winning the Three Nations in 2005, World Cup in 2008 and Four Nations in 2010. Manu played in the Warriors grand final losing side of 2010. Manu is famous for his gold teeth. Manu is married to wife Jennifer and together they have a daughter. Manu holds the record for the most tries for the Warriors with 102 (correct at the end of the 2012 season). Manu has played 20 times for New Zealand and has scored 13 tries. He has also been voted twice as the New Zealand Warriors All Star selectee.

Follow Manu on Twitter: @ManuVatuvei


Club Games Tries Goals FG's Points
Warriors 152 102 0 0 408

Warriors # 115

Name: VATUVEI, Manu
Place of Birth: Auckland
Positions: Wing
Professional clubs: Warriors
Rep Honors: 20 trsts
31 Years

Villa the Gorilla. This is a nickname that suits this man well. Some of the biggest hits ever seen at Mt Smart stadium came 0ff the shoulders of Richard Villasanti. Educated at Canberra's Erindale college. Richard moved from his junior Canberra club to the Balmain Tigers in 1999 where he played 6 NRL games and debut for the Tigers against the Manly Sea Eagles at Leichhardt oval in round 7 of the 1999 season. Richard remained with the Tigers after they merged with the Western Suburbs Magpies to become the Wests Tigers. In 1999 Richard played for the Junior Kiwis, however he choose to make himself availble for Tonga for the 2000 rugby league world cup but failed to make an appearance the world cup. In 2001, with few options available to him with the Tigers due to the congested squad Richard signed with the New Zealand Warriors. Richard would go onto play 96 games for the club over the next five seasons and would gain notoriety for his head first tackle on Roosters, NSW and Australian champion stand off Brad Fittler which left the play maker bloodied but determined. Richards form at club level had been first class and this was recognised by Australian selectors when Richard became the first player to play a test for Australia from a New Zealand based club. However by 2006 Richards form had plateaued and he was seen as surplus to requirements by Warriors management and released mid season to join the Crounlla Sutherland Sharks. After just 7 games for the Sharks Richard requested a release from his Sharks contract and this was agreed too which saw Richard sign with the Harlequins RL in London. Richard had been suffering with an on going knee injury which was a contributing factor in his fall from grace at the Warriors and which would lead to his premature retirement from rugby league after treatment at London failed to correct the problem. In 2011 Richard came out of retirement and played for the Sawtwell Panthers in the NSW group 2 competition with his team winning the premiership that year. And in 2012 he played for the Bidgee Hurricanes in the group 20 competition. Whilest away with the Kangaroos on tour of England, Wales and France $5000 was stolen from a team mates room. The culprit was never found and no one owned up to the theft but the eye of suspicion fell on Richard and romour has it that he was tagged with "never to tour again" by Kangaroo officials. To this day Richard has refuted the allegations and no proof has ever been offered to support any clims against anyone. Officially Richard is not guity of the theft.


Club Games Tries Goals FG's Points
Balmain 6 1 0 0 4
Wests Tigers 7 1 0 0 4
Warriors 96 21 0 0 84
Cronulla 7 1 0 0 4

Warriors # 87

Name: VILLASANTI, Richard
Place of Birth: Canberra
Positions: Prop
Professional clubs: Tigers, Warriors, Sharks
Rep Honors: Junior Kiwi, Tonga WC squad, 1 test Australia
37 Years

Kerry Cooper Vuna is a junior of the Otahuhu club in Auckland. Cooper grew up in Auckland with three sisters and four brothers, one of which, George, played under 21's for the Sydney Roosters. Cooper played rugby union through out his youth until he switched codes as a 15 year old after being talent identified by the New Zealand Warriors. Cooper signed for and debuted for the Warriors in 2004, making his debut on the wing against the Parramatta Eels in round 24. Cooper named hisself "Beast 2" after giant Warriors winger Manu Vatuvie but failed to live up to the self imposed hype. Cooper would play just a further 4 games for the Warriors before signing for the Newcastle Knights in 2007, looking for further game time. Cooper would play in over 50 games for the Knights over the course of the next 3 years. In 2007 Cooper made the Kiwis training squad but failed to make the final squad. Cooper played 3 tests for Tonga at the 2008 rugby league world cup. With no contract offered by the Newcastle Knights at the end of the 2010 season and no options on the horizon Cooper switched back to rugby union with the Melbourne Rebels. Cooper was named in the Tongan RU squd in 2011 but failed to make the final squad. In 2012 Cooper was named in the Australian RU squad and played 2 tests for the Wallabies. Coopers father represented Tonga at rugby union. Cooper found himself in hot water when he sent out some nasty twitter messages when he found out that former Warriors and Broncos winger Denan Kemp had signed with the Australian RU as a sevens player, and indeed Cooper had to tweet an apology for the out burst.

Follow Cooper on Twitter: @CVUNA


Club Games Tries Goals FG's Points
Warriors 5 1 0 0 4
Newcastle 54 36 0 0 144

Warriors # 118

Name: VUNA, Cooper
Place of Birth: Auckland
Positions: Wing
Professional clubs: Warriors, Knights
Rep Honors: 3 tests for Tonga
30 Years
cron