Bulldogs sign talented utility Tasi to two-year deal
IPSWICH Jets winger Tautalatasi Tasi has been signed to a two-year contract by the Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs.
The deal means the 19-year-old is out of the Jets team to play Souths Logan tomorrow in the Queensland Cup.
Tasi will begin training with the Bulldogs on Monday.
Tasi was in his third season with the Jets, making his Queensland Cup debut last year.
Now he is following in the footsteps of big brother Lama Tasi, who has played for the Sydney Roosters and Brisbane Broncos in the NRL.
Lama is now playing in the UK Super League for Salford.
"It's brilliant news," Jets co-coach Shane Walker said.
"I couldn't be happier for him."
Walker said the Bulldogs had been watching Tasi for the past few weeks and their recruitment manager Noel Cleal had been in contact with fellow Jets co-coach Ben Walker.
The Jets are a feeder club for the Brisbane Broncos but they were not interested in competing with the Bulldogs for his signature.
"The offer was too good to refuse," Shane Walker said.
Tasi was an Australian Schoolboys representative backrower but made his way into the Jets Queensland Cup team on the wing.
He has been used increasingly as a forward and Walker would not be surprised if he ends up in the pack.
"Initially they probably see him as a winger or centre," Walker said.
"The year before he joined us, he played in the front row for Ipswich in the Mal Meninga Cup (under-18s).
"But he's obviously got good speed and agility. We felt he'd make a good winger and would learn a lot playing outside Brendan Marshall."
So it has proved.
Walker believes Tasi's greatest improvement in his year-and-a-bit in the top grade at the Jets has been his willingness to compete.
"He's always had good speed, agility and skills," Walker said. "But he didn't know what it meant to compete. Now he's making a lot of efforts to double up, triple up, make four in a row and back that up.
"It's a learned skill."
While all the above attributes are impressive, it was Tasi's strength in contact that really caught the Bulldogs' eyes.
"What gained their attention was that he is so dynamic," Walker said. "As they said, the punch he had at the line."
Queensland Cup tomorrow (2pm): Souths Logan Magpies v Ipswich Jets at Davies Park. Referee: Clayton Sharpe.
Head to Head: Ipswich 19, Souths Logan 16, drawn 1.
How they shape up: Last Saturday's Cup clash between the Northern Pride and Souths Logan was decided on the bell. The Magpies came up just short in search of a second try in the final two minutes and they'll be eager to finish on the right side of the ledger in this important Rivalry Round match. In contrast to the Magpies' near miss, the Jets did it relatively easy last week, leading from start to finish against the Redcliffe Dolphins. Ipswich's smaller men, including Javarn White, Wes Conlon and Marmin Barba, were at their tormenting best. But this weekend the Jets will meet a team that can be equally dangerous around the ruck with Kurt Baptiste and Mitch Cronin capable of tearing any side apart.