New Zealand Warriors have confirmed the departures of forwards Bayley Sironen and Valingi Kepu at the conclusion of their 2023 NRL campaign, reports claim.
Fox Sports reports that the duo’s exits was confirmed during the club’s end-of-season awards night, with the Warriors set to face Minor Premiership winners Penrith Panthers in week one of the finals.
The losers will feature against the winners of Newcastle Knights versus Canberra Raiders in week two.
Utility forward Sironen, 26, is the younger brother of St Helens star Curtis, who made the switch to Super League ahead of the 2022 campaign from the Manly Sea Eagles.
Bayley joined New Zealand Warriors in November 2020 on a three-year deal, with his contract expiring at the end of the current campaign.
He featured just five times in his first two NRL seasons with Wests Tigers before enjoying a breakthrough year in 2020 with 19 appearances for South Sydney Rabbitohs.
The back-rower has enjoyed 22 games in 2023 under Andrew Webster, taking his career tally to 78 NRL appearances.
He enjoyed a try-scoring debut for New Zealand Warriors in the 19-6 win over Gold Coast Titans in 2021.
His future remains unknown, while the club have also released young forward Kepu. The 21-year-old joined the club’s full-time NRL squad for 2023, but he failed to make his debut. He had one-year remaining on his contract, with twin brother Otukinekina also released earlier in the year.
Bayley Sironen previously tipped for Super League
Bayley has previously been tipped with a Super League move to continue his career by reporter David Long writing for Stuff in New Zealand.
Back in June, the senior sports writer said: “Although the current NRL season is only at the halfway point, the Warriors’ roster for next year is almost complete and there won’t be a place in it for Bayley Sironen or either Adam Pompey or Viliame Vailea.
“Sironen has been a good servant at the Warriors since joining in 2021 and his ability to play in a number of positions, including filling in at dummy half, has been helpful.
“However, with promising young players coming through the Warriors’ system like Zyon Maiu’u, there isn’t going to be a spot on the roster for him next year, unless something dramatic happens, so Sironen’s future could lie in the Super League.”