The Sharks have extended the contracts of two of their young up and coming stars, with prop Franklin Pele and outside back Jensen Taumoepeau agreeing to new deals.
The pair who are currently inside the ‘bubble’ and training with the Sharks NRL squad, have been signed to two-year contracts which will see them included in the top-30 player list and remain at the Cronulla club until at least the end of the 2022 season.
Outstanding talents, Sharks coach John Morris has been impressed with their development this year under challenging circumstances, despite neither having the opportunity to play in Canterbury Cup or Jersey Flegg competitions and was confident they had the potential to become quality NRL players in the years ahead.
“They are two exciting young prospects who have size and athleticism and importantly are good characters and very coachable,” Morris said. “Frankie did a whole pre-season with us this year, performed well in our two NRL trials, scored a try in one of them, and he is a big powerful player who runs hard and seems to be getting bigger by the year.
“As for Jensen, he has been a real good kid coming through our pathway system, he got a shot at Newtown last year and handled that step up and is someone with size and the ability to play fullback, centre or wing.”
Taumoepeau and Pele have come through the Sharks junior pathways having represented the club in the lower grades, with both introduced to the senior ranks as members of the travelling squad to PNG for the Sharks NRL trial against the Bulldogs earlier this year where they made a significant impression in top company. Pele also caught the eye in the Sharks second pre-season outing, scoring a try in a solid performance against a strong Manly forward pack.
Pele’s career at the Sharks began as a member of the under-16’s Matthews Cup team in 2016, before he graduated through the grades in the years to follow, with a highlight being his selection in the Australian Schoolboys team in 2018 while attending Endeavour Sports High.
An imposing figure, standing 190cm tall and tipping the scales at around 130kgs, Pele played alongside the likes of Bradman Best from the Knights, Broncos half back Tom Dearden, Panther Stephen Crighton and Tommy Talau from the Wests Tigers in that Australian Schoolboy’s team.
In relation to Taumoepeau, originally from the coastal region of Taranaki on New Zealand’s north island, the tall and powerful outside back arrived at the Sharks in 2017, representing at SG Ball level for two seasons before progressing to the Jersey Flegg squad last year.
Taumoepeau had a taste of senior rugby league in 2019, debuting for the Newtown Jets in round 21 in the Canterbury Cup, before being added to the Sharks fulltime training group earlier this year.
Having only recently turned 20 and weighing in at over 100kgs, Taumoepeau has the size and power to become a success at an NRL level when his opportunity presents.
Pele and Taumoepeau will continue to train-on with the Sharks NRL squad this season, before undergoing a full NRL pre-season in preparation for 2021.
And in more recruitment news, the Sharks have snared two of Queensland’s most promising junior players with the signing of Jack Martin and Ryan Rivett.
Having come through the Broncos development system the 19-year-old Martin is a highly regarded front rower who represented Queensland in under 18’s State of Origin, while Rivett, a half or five eighth, at just 18 has already caught the eye of good judges while playing his junior rugby league on the Gold Coast.
Both will arrive at the Sharks prior to the 2021 season.
Franklin Pele Fact File
DOB: 18 December, 2000, Auckland, New Zealand
Position: Front row
Junior Club: St Patricks Sutherland
Rep Honours: Australian Schoolboys 2018
Jensen Taumoepeau Fact File
DOB: 21 June, 2000, New Plymouth, Taranaki, NZ
Junior Club: Western Suburbs Tigers (NZ)