Rhinos land Kiwi ace
Leeds Rhinos have secured a major signing coup ahead of the 2021 Betfred Super League season with the capture of New Zealand international forward Zane Tetevano, 30, from NRL side Penrith Panthers on a three year deal.
Tetevano has featured in two of the last three NRL Grand Finals including last year’s clash with Melbourne Storm for the Panthers. He started both wins for New Zealand against the Great Britain RL Lions in 2019 as well as making his Test debut against Australia.
He joined Penrith last season on a two year deal from Sydney Roosters but has gained a release from the final year of his Panthers contract to join the Rhinos. He spent three seasons at the Roosters, playing in the 2018 Grand Final win as well as winning the World Club Challenge against Wigan in 2019.
The prop played for the Cook Islands in the 2013 World Cup in England, making five appearances in total for them before switching to New Zealand in 2019. He started his NRL career with Newcastle Knights, joining the club in 2008 as a teenager from Tokoroa, in New Zealand's Waikato region. He made his NRL debut in 2011 and played alongside former Rhino Adam Cuthbertson at the Knights. Tetevano has now played over 120 games in the NRL.
Commenting on the signing Leeds Rhinos Director of Rugby Kevin Sinfield said, “Once we became aware of Zane’s availability, he was our number one priority to strengthen our squad for next season and we are delighted to get the deal done. I would like to thank Penrith Panthers for their co-operation to complete the move. We have got an exciting crop of young players coming through at the Rhinos and to add a current international with a proven track record of winning will give our group a tremendous lift. We look forward to seeing Zane in blue and amber in 2021.”
Leeds Rhinos Head Coach Richard Agar commented, “Zane has played in tremendous club sides over the last four seasons winning minor Premierships and Grand Finals. He is a current starting international. It has been a deal that has taken a number of weeks and I would like to thank Penrith Panthers for the professional manner they have dealt with the whole process. Our patience has been rewarded and Zane is a player who will add a massive all round contribution to our team.”
Looking ahead to the move the Rhinos, Tetevano said, “My personal motto is that I like to be challenged and this move is the next challenge for me. I have had my time in the NRL and had some amazing opportunities and been part of some incredible teams. I am excited to be coming to Leeds. I have been doing my research on the history of the club so I have an emotional connection with the highs and lows of being a Rhino.
“I played some of the big guys from Super League with New Zealand against Great Britain and some of those guys are absolute beasts. I am keen to test myself against them on a week to week basis. The Great Britain players are big men who like the physical side of the game and that is the style of play I like too so I am looking forward to the challenge.
“I would like to say a massive thank you to the Penrith Panthers and all their fans. Ivan Cleary has been a great coach for me over the last year and I have learnt a lot. They have a great squad and I think they will be a top two team for the next five or ten years. I want to give my gratitude and appreciation to the whole Panthers organisation for the opportunity they have given me to show my skill set and the chance to continue to play the game I love,” added Tetevano.