The Dolphins have injected an outstanding young playmaker into their squad for their entry to 2023 NRL premiership.
Touted as a star half of the future, Isaiya Katoa has been lured from the NRL’s reigning premiers, the Panthers.
On the day of his 18th birthday, Katoa has joined the Queensland-based Dolphins on a three-year deal.
In addition, the Dolphins will bypass the development contract stage with Katoa and fast-track him into the club’s top 30 when pre-season training begins in November.
Katoa’s signing adds some young talent to the Dolphins’ backline roster, that includes Kiwi international Jamayne Isaako and another teenage prodigy in Michael Roberts – the younger brother of NRL speed machine James Roberts.
They will be playing behind vital enforcement in the forward pack with the Dolphins investing heavily in luring a hard-edged list that includes the Storm’s Felise Kaufusi, Jesse and Kenny Bromwich, as well as Rabbitohs’ prop Mark Nicholls.
Dolphins’ chief executive Terry Reader said the acquisition of Katoa was an important investment in the club’s long-term future.
“Isaiya is one of the most sought-after young playmakers in the game, so this is a really big coup for the Dolphins,” said Reader.
“We have already built significant depth and experience in our forward pack and there is no doubt that this plays a part in enticing young talent to join our squad.
“We recognise the potential Isaiya has and are excited about what he can become when he begins working with head coach Wayne Bennett every day.”
Katoa is currently playing in Penrith’s under-19s team in the New South Wales Rugby League’s SG Ball competition and attends the prestigious Barker College in Sydney’s North Shore area.
He has already showcased his skills in the Panthers’ undefeated start to the 2022 competition and is an accomplished goal kicker.
Katoa also has NRL and international pedigree as the younger brother of former Bulldogs and Panthers’ hooker Sione Katoa, who has also played Test football for the successful Tonga Rugby League team.