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The Sharks had added depth and certainly size to their roster for the 2023 season, with towering young front rower Tuku Hau Tapuha signing a two-year contract with the Cronulla club.

Hau Tapuha was granted a release from his Roosters contract, with the 196cm, 115kg prop joining the Sharks full-time NRL squad for the 2023 and 2024 seasons.

Born in Auckland, before moving to Australia and spending his formative years at the Fortitude Valley club in the northern suburbs of Brisbane, Hau Tapuha played under Cronulla coach Craig Fitzgibbon while at the Roosters and was grateful to be given this opportunity to begin this next chapter of his career at the Sharks.

“Definitely one of my big goals this season is to get some first grade under my belt this year and I think Fitzy has given me a great opportunity with this move,” Hau Tapuha said.

In his first week at the Sharks, as a Māori All Star in 2022, Hau Tapuha was familiar with the likes of Briton Nikora and Royce Hunt, as well as Matt Ikuvalu who he trained alongside at the Roosters, however as he explains the transition to the Sutherland Shire has so far been a smooth one.

“The boys have made me feel really welcome and I’m loving it here. The change of scenery has been enjoyable, and the boys have made the transition easy,” he said.

As was the case with many youngsters during the Covid affected seasons where the NSW Cup and Jersey Flegg competitions ground to a halt, Hau Tapuha’s opportunities were limited in 2020 and early in 2021, before he received a call-up to the Roosters NRL squad.

Debuting in the top grade as a 19-year-old in round nine in a match against the Eels, Hau Tapuha would play two more NRL games during the 2021 season.

After representing the Maori All Stars in 2022, Hau Tapuha  played out that season with the North Sydney Bears, the Roosters partner club in the NSW Cup.

Hau Tapuha is likely to see some game time with Newtown in the NSW Cup this weekend, with the Jets to play the NRL curtain-raiser against Canberra at GIO Stadium on Sunday.

Tuku Hau Tapuha – Fact File
Born: 10/12/2001 - Auckland, NZ
Height: 196cm
Weight: 114kgs
Junior Club: Valleys Brisbane
NRL Debut: Roosters v Eels, round 9, 2021

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