NRL return confirmed for ex-Leeds Rhinos forward Zane Tetevano after recovery from heart surgery

Drew Darbyshire
Zane Tetevano Leeds Rhinos Alamy

Zane Tetevano warming up for a match for Leeds Rhinos in 2023

Canterbury Bulldogs have signed former Leeds Rhinos forward Zane Tetevano on a one-year contract following his recovery from heart surgery.

The 33-year-old suffered a stroke during a training session with the Super League giants at the back end of last season, which was caused by a hole in his heart.

Tetevano didn’t play for Leeds again and was granted an early release from his contract with the Rhinos at the back end of last season so he could continue his recovery from his home in New Zealand.

He made his return to the field last autumn, representing the Cook Islands in the Pacific Championships.

There was talk of Tetevano playing in the lower club grades in Australia this year – but he has now secured a return to the NRL with the Bulldogs after passing the relevant fitness tests.

Canterbury general manager Phil Gould said: “Zane is a highly respected senior player who will bring leadership and work ethic to our group.”

DON’T MISS: Super League chiefs heading to Las Vegas for NRL opener to explore opportunities

Former Leeds Rhinos forward Zane Tetevano makes NRL return after recovering from stroke

Tetevano has more than 120 NRL appearances to his name for Newcastle Knights, Sydney Roosters and Penrith Panthers, playing in the Roosters’ Grand Final win in 2018 and their World Club Challenge success the following year.

The New Zealand-born forward played 47 games during his three seasons at Leeds, including their Grand Final defeat to St Helens at Old Trafford in 2022.

Tetevano has represented both New Zealand and the Cook Islands on the international stage. He won three caps for birth nation New Zealand in 2019, whilst representing his Cook Islander heritage on 10 occasions, playing in two World Cups for the Kukis in 2013 and 2021.

He has also represented the Maori All Stars in the NRL and the Combined Nations All Stars in Super League.

READ NEXT: The NRL players who have been – and could still be – on Super League’s radar