Warriors young gun Ata Hingano has been granted a release from his junior club just a week out from the start of the 2018 Telstra Premiership.
Despite inking a three-year deal with his junior club last June, the promising 20-year-old half is now expected to link with Canberra Raiders and add further depth to their playmaking stocks.
Canberra officials were unavailable to comment on Wednesday morning as Warriors chief executive Cameron George confirmed the recent signing of Blake Green had raised Hingano’s concerns about his path to first grade.
“Ata obviously had a view with the Blake Green signing that it might have impeded in his pathway forward,” George told New Zealand’s Radio Sports Breakfast.
“We certainly didn’t believe that. We thought it would benefit Ata’s long-term future.
“But at the end of the day we just want Ata to be happy. He sought that release and it’s been granted. We wish him all the best. He’s been a wonderful contributor to the club.”
Hingano has previously been a man in demand given his status as one of New Zealand’s best young playmaking prospects, with Melbourne Storm and North Queensland Cowboys making enquiries about the youngster last season.
He was a key member of Tonga’s remarkable run to the World Cup semi-finals as their halfback in every match, and leaves the Warriors with 15 NRL games under his belt.