Cross-code journeyman Young Tonumaipea returns to Melbourne Storm for remainder of 2022

Cross-code journeyman Young Tonumaipea will return to where it all began, signing on with the Storm for the remainder of the 2022 NRL season.

The 29-year-old began his career in Melbourne, coming through the junior system, before playing 43 games with the club.

Tonumaipea would then head overseas for a two-year religious mission mid-way through the Storm’s 2018 campaign, before returning to the NRL with the Titans for a short stint back in 2020.

The outside back would then head over to rugby union, playing six games for the Melbourne Rebels last season.

The club announced Tonumaipea would return to the Storm on a train-and-trial deal on Wednesday afternoon.

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

“It’s funny how the world works sometimes. It’s done a full circle.

“I’m buzzing and ready to go.”

Tonumaipea has remained a popular player among rugby league circles, with his ability on the field to cover both centre and wing likely to prove important for the Storm as they navigate the State of Origin period and an injury toll.

Storm head of football Frank Ponissi praised the Samoan international and said the club always hoped he would return.

“Young was a very popular and respected member of the Storm squad during his previous time with the club,” he said.

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

“After his stint in rugby, Young was very keen to return to rugby league and Storm and, 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.”

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