Niukore won't backflip on Warriors move

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Marata Niukore has reassured the Warriors he will join the NRL club next season following reports teammate Isaiah Papali'i' is reconsidering moving from Parramatta.

Last November, Papali'i signed a three-year deal to join Wests Tigers in 2023 but it has since emerged the second-rower is having second thoughts about joining the struggling club.

The man who lured Papali'i to Concord, Michael Maguire, was sacked as coach earlier this year and the side has since sunk to the bottom of the ladder.

While Papali'i has yet to publicly confirm where he will play in 2023, Niukore said he was comfortable with leaving the Eels to join the Warriors.

Like the Tigers, the Warriors are languishing in the bottom four and have struggled for consistency in the halves this season but are hoping the arrival of a new coach Andrew Webster can turn their fortunes around in 2023.

The club sees Niukore as a significant part of its rebuild, signing him to a contract worth a reported $2.5 million across four seasons.

"I'm pretty committed to my deal," he told reporters.

"I'll honour that contract as it is at the moment. Nothing's changed."

Born in Auckland, Niukore said he had not yet given much thought about returning to the club where he began his professional career in the under-20s program.

"My main focus is on finishing off my career at the Eels on a good note," he said.

"Once the time comes (to move back to New Zealand), I'm looking forward to it."

Niukore will hope to celebrate his 26th birthday with a win against reigning premiers Penrith on Friday night.

The Eels are the only side to have defeated the Panthers this season and after the rematch, Niukore did not rule out the possibility of meeting up with Webster, who is currently an assistant to Ivan Cleary at Penrith.

"We'll worry about that after the game," he said.

"We know what kind of team (Penrith) are. We proved to ourselves when we last played them that we can match it with them.

"Nothing's going to change from that last game as to how we're going to prepare for this one."

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