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Niu kid on the block for Dolphins NRL debut

The Dolphins have added depth and strike to their backline after securing the services of Tongan international Tesi Niu.

Niu will begin training with the Dolphins almost immediately with the NRL newcomers just two months away from making their historic NRL debut against the Roosters on Sunday March 5 at Suncorp Stadium.

He will not have to move far for training after gaining a release from cross-town rivals and stadium co-tenants the Broncos.

At just 21 years of age, Niu has already played 32 NRL matches and has only recently returned from representing Tonga at the Rugby League World Cup in England.

A robust centre or fullback with slick footwork, Niu fills a need for the Dolphins as they continue to build strength in the outside backs.

Dolphins’ chief executive Terry Reader said Niu would be a valuable addition to the Dolphins’ roster.

“We obviously know Tesi very well as he is a Brisbane-born player we have watched come through the grades and become an NRL regular and an international,” said Reader.

“We now have a strong list of outside backs with players such as Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow, Euan Aitken, Brenko Lee, Edrick Lee, Jamayne Isaako, Oliver Gildart and Robert Jennings all part of the Dolphins’ foundation squad.

“This group will compete for spots in that first Dolphins’ team to play the Roosters - and with the trials only four weeks away, that competition will start very soon.

“We have always said that January would be a busy month for recruitment and bringing Tesi into our squad is a great acquisition.”

Niu made his Test debut at just 18 years of age, starring at fullback as Tonga upset the Great Britain Lions in 2019.

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He made his NRL debut the following year for the Broncos and scored eight tries in 16 matches in his break-out season of 2021.

He played 10 NRL matches for the Broncos last year before a serious hamstring injury hampered him. Niu recovered well enough to play for Tonga at the World Cup, scoring a hat-trick of tries in a pool match win over the Cook Islands.

Tesi Niu

Height: 177cms
Weight: 94kg
NRL Games: 32
NRL Tries: 11
Representative honours: Three Tests for Tonga (2019-22)
Previous clubs: Brisbane Broncos (2020-22)

Click here to view the rest of the Dolphins squad.

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