Manly’s Sao heading back to Warriors

Manly utility forward Ligi Sao will return to his hometown and rejoin the Warriors for the next two NRL seasons.

Sao, 23, moved to Manly in 2013 and has made 16 first-grade appearances for the Sea Eagles, 15 of them this season.

Warriors coach Andrew McFadden says Sao will add depth to the club and increase competition for spots.

Sao, who played for the Junior Warriors, including in their 2001 grand final win, said returning to Auckland was a key factor in his decision.

He will get an early introduction to his future teammates when he runs out at lock against the Warriors at Mt Smart Stadium on Saturday.

Sao had been in danger of missing the match after being charged with a dangerous throw on North Queensland’s Michael Morgan.

But at the NRL judiciary on Wednesday night, he was found not guilty over the incident in the Sea Eagles’ 30-12 loss to the Cowboys on Monday night.

Sao’s move to the Warriors came as reports emerged of the club’s desire to sack players en masse, with up to 14 Sea Eagles said to be in the firing line.

Manly coach Geoff Toovey says he knows nothing of the rumours.

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