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Saturday, January 23, 2021

Young gun Starford To’a to fire at Knights

The Newcastle Knights have retained the services of one of the NRL club’s rising stars.

Young gun Starford To’a re-signed a two-year deal this week, which will see him remain in the Hunter until at least the end of the 2023 season.

A strong, fast ball-runner hailing from Auckland, To’a is a powerful outside back who has also spent some time at fullback throughout his junior days.

He was first scouted in 2018 by Alex McKinnon, who brought him across the Tasman after identifying his raw talent and sky-high potential.

The young Kiwi made his NRL debut in the last round of the 2019 season, catching the eyes of the competition by scoring a stunning intercept try with almost his first touch.

The determined youngster managed to force his way into the first grade side for the second half of 2020, snaring four tries in seven appearances.

His speed, power and finishing ability are a real highlight of To’a’s ability.

Knights fans have seen him continually knock on the door for a regular spot in the team, with his progression proving equally rewarding for both himself and McKinnon.

Still only 20 years of age, To’a has enormous untapped potential, and will have the opportunity to further develop and cement his place in the NRL line-up.

General manager of football Danny Buderus said he believed, with a new contract signed and a full pre-season ahead, To’a was ready to take his game to the level required to play consistent NRL footy.

“Under the guidance of Adam O’Brien and his team, everyone at the cClub is confident that Star will continue to progress towards a long-term permanent spot,” he stated.

“Being Alex’s first signing as a recruitment officer in 2018, Newcastle definitely is a home for Star and we can’t wait to watch his development over the next three years.”

The Knights open their 2021 account at home, McDonald Jones Stadium, against the new-look Canterbury Bulldogs on Friday 12 March at 6pm.

The clash will also give fans a chance to see new signing and NSW State of Origin star Tyson Frizell in Newcastle colours for the first time.

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