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Hiroti to make Sharks debut

He comes with outstanding pedigree, having represented the Junior Kiwis and Australian Schoolboys when coming through the ranks, with former Rabbitohs outside back Mawene Hiroti to get his opportunity in the NRL in Sharks colours when he makes his Club debut on Sunday.

Following on from the Sharks debut of another former Souths junior in Siosifa Talakai last weekend, Hiroti will become the 536th Cronulla top grade player when he runs out for the local derby clash against the Dragons.

After joining the club during the pre-season, Hiroti trained strongly through the summer, then impressed in the Sharks trial against the Bulldogs in PNG in February, however he then hit a hurdle when hampered by a niggling calf complaint.

After returning from the forced break due to the competition shut down Hiroti has returned to full fitness after being managed through training over the past month and now following the injury to youngster Ronaldo Mulitalo, this week gets his chance to impress.

Standing at close to 190cm and tipping the scales at 97kgs, Sharks coach John Morris has been tracking Hiroti’s progress since first spotting him in the under 16’s and is looking forward to what he can offer his team in what will be a baptism of fire in the local derby clash on Sunday.

“Mawene has been a highly regarded junior, someone I saw play when I was doing the elite pathways role here at the club. I remember seeing him play Harold Matthews Cup for Souths,” Morris said. "When I saw his name come up at the back end of last year, we grabbed him. 

"He's a very athletic winger, tall, fast, a good goalkicker and he gets his chance with Ronaldo being out and I have full confidence in Mawene doing a job for us on Sunday."

Still just 21, Hiroti made his debut at Souths in 2018 and has played five NRL games to date, four of those matches coming during the 2019 season.

Hiromi was a standout in the Canterbury Cup last year for the Bunnies, scoring 17 tries and kicking 70 goals in 19 games, finishing the year as the competition’s leading point scorer before being named in the NSWRL team of the year.

Arriving in Sydney as a teenager from the New Zealand north island town of Taranaki, Hiroti played through the junior rep system at Souths, representing their Matthews Cup, SG Ball and Holden Cup teams before progressing to the senior squad ahead of his debut in the top grade two years ago.