Samoa World Cup hopeful returns to NRL from rugby union

Josh McAllister
Young Tonumaipea Samoa NRL PA

Young Tonumaipea in action for Samoa at 2017 World Cup

Samoa World Cup hopeful Young Tonumaipea has returned to the NRL with Melbourne Storm from rugby union. 

He returns to Storm on a train and trial deal after a two-year absence from rugby league.

Tonumaipea played 43 NRL matches for Storm between 2014-18. He made his debut in round one of the 2014 season against the Manly Sea Eagles.

The 29-year-old spent two years out of the game between 2019-20 as he served a Mormon mission in Germany.

Tonumaipea returned to rugby league in 2020 with Gold Coast Titans before heading to rugby union with the Melbourne Rebels in 2021. He now returns to Storm where it all started.

He said: “When I left Melbourne midway through 2018, I thought that would probably be the last time I’d be wearing purple.

“It’s funny how the world works sometimes. It’s done a full circle. “I’m buzzing and ready to go.”

Apia-born Tonumaipea has won five caps for Samoa and played in the 2017 World Cup.


Melbourne boss delighted to welcome Tonumaipea back to NRL

Storm general manager of football Frank Ponissi said: “Young was a very popular and respected member of the Storm squad during his previous time with the club.

“I think we all hoped, especially considering he’s a junior from the northern suburbs of Melbourne, that at some stage he would re-join us.

“After his stint in rugby, Young was very keen to return to rugby league and Storm. At 29, he still has a lot of good footy to come.

“I know there’s going to be many members and fans who will be very happy to see him back in purple.”

Tonumaipea will be hoping to play in his second World Cup for Samoa, with the tournament taking place in England this autumn.

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