Dallin Watene-Zelezniak

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Dallin Watene-Zelezniak
Dallin Watene-Zelezniak.jpg
Personal information
Born (1995-08-17) 17 August 1995 (age 24)
Hamilton, New Zealand
Height186 cm (6 ft 1 in)
Weight97 kg (15 st 4 lb)
Playing information
PositionFullback, Wing, Centre
Years Team Pld T G FG P
2014–19 Penrith Panthers 106 41 0 0 164
2019– Canterbury Bulldogs 10 1 0 0 4
Total 116 42 0 0 168
Years Team Pld T G FG P
2016– New Zealand 12 5 0 0 20
As of 3 September 2019
Source: [1]

Dallin Watene-Zelezniak (born 17 August 1995) is a New Zealand international rugby league footballer who can play as a wing or fullback for the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs in the NRL.

He played for the Penrith Panthers in the National Rugby League.


Born in Hamilton, New Zealand, Watene-Zelezniak is of Māori, Tongan and Polish descent and is from the Waikato Tainui Iwi. Watene-Zelezniak lived in Ngaruawahia,[4] before moving to Sydney, Australia as a 5-year old and played his junior rugby league for the St Clair Comets, before being signed by the Penrith Panthers.[5] He attended St.Dominic’s College, Penrith and Patrician Brothers' College, Blacktown.[6]

Watene-Zelezniak is the great-grandson of former New Zealand rugby league captain and politician, Steve Watene.[7] Watene-Zelezniak is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church).[7] Dallin is the younger brother of Penrith Panthers winger, Malakai Watene-Zelezniak.

Playing career[edit]

In April 2013, Watene-Zelezniak re-signed with the Panthers on a 2-year contract.[8] On 26 June 2013, in the curtain raiser to Game 2 of the 2013 State of Origin series, Watene-Zelenziak played for New South Wales under 18’s against Queensland under 18’s at Suncorp Stadium, scoring a hattrick of tries in the 56-6 smashing win.[9][10] On 6 October 2013, Watene-Zelezniak played in the Panthers 2013 Holden Cup Grand Final match against the New Zealand Warriors, playing on the wing in the 42-30 victory.[11] Watene-Zelezniak was also selected to play for both the Australian Schoolboys team and Junior Kiwis team. He eventually chose to play for the Junior Kiwis.[12] On 13 October 2013, Watene-Zelezniak played for the Junior Kiwis against the Junior Kangaroos, playing on the wing and scoring 2 tries in the 38-26 loss at WIN Stadium.[13]


In 2014 Watene-Zelezniak moved on to play in the Panthers NSW Cup team, before being included in the Panthers first grade squad. In Round 5 of the 2014 NRL season, Watene-Zelezniak made his NRL debut for the Penrith Panthers against the Canberra Raiders, scoring 2 tries on debut in the Panthers 12-6 win at Penrith Stadium.[14] While playing in the Panthers NSW Cup side, Watene-Zelezniak was hit with a 4-match suspension after he performed an eye gouge on a Wyong Roos player during their 32-24 win.[15] Watene-Zelezniak finished his debut year in the NRL with him playing in 10 matches and scoring 7 tries for the Panthers in the 2014 NRL season. On 7 October 2014, Watene-Zelezniak's impressive late season form saw him included in the New Zealand national rugby league team 24-man squad for the 2014 Four Nations. However he was later ruled out after he suffered a foot injury at training.[16][17]


On 5 February 2015, Watene-Zelezniak extended his contract with the Panthers until the end of 2016.[18] On 28 April 2015, Watene-Zelezniak was ruled out of making his international debut for New Zealand in the 2015 Anzac Test after he was charged with a dangerous throw on Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks player Wade Graham. The suspension denied Watene-Zelezniak his New Zealand debut for the second time in 6-months.[19] In Round 18, against the Sydney Roosters, Watene-Zelezniak suffered a collapsed lung during the Panthers 24-4 loss at Penrith Stadium and was ruled out for the rest of the season.[20][21][22] Watene-Zelezniak finished off the 2015 NRL season with him playing in 16 matches and scoring 7 tries for the Panthers.[23] On 10 November 2015, Watene-Zelezniak extended his contract with the Panthers until the end of 2017.[24]


In February, Watene-Zelezniak was named in the Panthers' 2016 NRL Auckland Nines squad.[25] On 6 May 2016, Watene-Zelezniak made his international debut for New Zealand against Australia in the 2016 Anzac Test, playing on the wing in the 16-0 loss at Hunter Stadium.[26][27] Watene-Zelezniak finished the 2016 NRL season with him playing in all of the Panthers 26 matches and scoring 12 tries. At the end of season, Watene-Zelezniak was selected in the New Zealand 24-man squad for the 2016 Four Nations. Watene-Zelezniak played in one match in the tournament, playing at fullback in the Kiwis 18-all draw against Scotland at Derwent Park.[28]


On 3 April 2017, Watene-Zelezniak extended his contract with the Panthers to the end of the 2020 season.[29] On 5 May 2017, Watene-Zelezniak played for New Zealand against Australia in the 2017 Anzac Test, playing on the wing in the 30-12 loss at Canberra Stadium.[30] On 22 July 2017, Watene-Zelezniak was involved in an ugly incident at a junior rugby league match. The Kiwi international who was volunteering as a touch judge between his junior club the St Clair Comets and the St Mary Saints was abused by an official from St Mary's after he put his flag up to signify a St Mary’s player had stepped into touch, the altercation would become physical, with the official putting his hands around the Panthers star’s neck and wrestling with him. "It was very ugly and parents and officials had to take the kids across the field before a few people eventually broke it up," an eyewitness explained.[31] The official was later copped with a lifetime banned from Junior Rugby League.[32] Watene-Zelezniak finished the 2017 NRL season with him playing in 24 matches and scoring 9 tries for the Panthers. On 5 October 2017, Watene-Zelezniak was named in the 24-man New Zealand Kiwis squad for the 2017 Rugby League World Cup.[33] On 11 November 2017, in the Kiwis entertaining clash against Tonga, Watene-Zelezniak scored his first try for the Kiwis in the shock 28-22 loss at Waikato Stadium.[34] Watene-Zelezniak played in 3 matches and scored 1 try for the Kiwis in their disappointing World Cup campaign.


On 9 June 2019, Watene-Zelezniak was released from his contract with the Penrith Panthers effective immediately to sign with the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs.

Watene-Zelezniak made a total of 10 appearances for Canterbury-Bankstown in his first year at the club. During the mid-way part of the season, Canterbury-Bankstown found themselves sitting last on the table and in real danger of finishing with the wooden spoon. However, for the third straight season, Canterbury achieved four upset victories in a row over Penrith, the Wests Tigers, South Sydney and Parramatta who were all competing for a place in the finals series and were higher on the table. Canterbury ended the season in 12th place.[35][36]


  1. ^ "Dallin Watene-Zelezniak - Career Stats & Summary". Rugby League Project.
  2. ^ McCullough, Ian (5 April 2014). "Cleary ready to unleash Penrith flyer". NRL. Archived from the original on 6 April 2014. Retrieved 10 November 2015.
  3. ^ "Penrith's Dallin Watene Zelezniak will make his first-grade debut against Canberra". Fox Sports. 4 April 2014. Retrieved 10 November 2015.
  4. ^ "Ngaruawahia teen bags debut double". Stuff.co.nz. 6 April 2014. Retrieved 10 November 2015.
  5. ^ Massoud, Josh (21 November 2013). "Penrith whiz-kid Dallin Watene-Zelezniak on idol Will Hopoate's path". Daily Telegraph.
  6. ^ Michael Chammas. "No rookie mistakes but Moylan could still lose Penrith fullback role to teen". Smh.com.au. Retrieved 10 November 2015.
  7. ^ a b Lane, Daniel (4 April 2014). "Penrith rookie Dallin Watene-Zelezniak shapes up to a family legend". Sydney Morning Herald.
  8. ^ "Panthers re-sign talented youngsters". Penrith Panthers. 24 April 2014. Archived from the original on 31 May 2014.
  9. ^ https://www.parraeels.com.au/news/2013/06/27/the-under-18s-nsw-blues-thump-queensland/
  10. ^ "Two Penrith Panthers Star Juniors selected in NSW Under-18 Origin Side". Dailytelegraph.com.au. Retrieved 10 November 2015.
  11. ^ https://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/sport/nrl/penrith-panthers-seal-thrilling-42-30-holden-cup-victory-over-new-zealand-warriors/news-story/673c829a5f61b0c00e1fb3c3449b5d55
  12. ^ https://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/sport/nrl/penrith-whizkid-dallin-watenezelezniak-on-idol-will-hopoates-path/news-story/843e24304ac44e8a9595f90c01d3f4e7
  13. ^ http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/CU1310/S00246/junior-kiwis-vs-junior-kangaroos-result.htm
  14. ^ Michael Chammas (5 April 2014). "Dallin Watene-Zelezniak stars on debut as Panthers beat Raiders". Smh.com.au. Retrieved 10 November 2015.
  15. ^ https://www.theroar.com.au/2014/09/17/panther-puts-gouge-nightmare-behind/
  16. ^ "Four rookies in Kiwis Four Nations squad - NRL.com". M.nrl.com. 7 October 2014. Retrieved 10 November 2015.
  17. ^ "New Zealand's Dallin Watene-Zelezniak to Miss Four Nations with Injury". Dailytelegraph.com.au. Retrieved 10 November 2015.
  18. ^ "Dallin Watene-Zelezniak 'grateful and blessed' to be re-signed by Penrith Panthers". Smh.com.au. Retrieved 10 November 2015.
  19. ^ "Dallin Watene-Zelezniak Ruled Out of New Zealand Test Team; Jason nightingale to Start against Australia". Dailytelegraph.com.au. Retrieved 26 December 2015.
  20. ^ Daniel Lane (1 August 2015). "Penrith Panthers fullback Dallin Watene-Zelezniak's season over but slams reports about genetic condition". Smh.com.au. Retrieved 26 December 2015.
  21. ^ "Panthers Fullback Dallin Watene-Zelezniak in hospital After suffering a Collapsed Lung". Dailytelegraph.com.au. Retrieved 26 December 2015.
  22. ^ "Ferguson Leads Roosters to Panthers Pasting". The Australian. Retrieved 26 December 2015.
  23. ^ "Custom Match List". Rugby League Project. 21 October 2015. Retrieved 26 December 2015.
  24. ^ "DWZ signs new Panthers deal | NRL". Zero Tackle. Retrieved 10 November 2015.
  25. ^ "Panthers name Auckland Nines squad". NRL.com. Retrieved 25 January 2016.
  26. ^ "Updated: Representative Round team lists". NRL.com. Retrieved 30 March 2017.
  27. ^ [1]
  28. ^ [2]
  29. ^ https://www.foxsports.com.au/nrl/nrl-premiership/teams/panthers/nrl-2017-penrith-resign-dallin-watenezelezniak-until-the-end-of-2020/news-story/41ab57f1bda5e7f470932dac25073364
  30. ^ https://www.theaustralian.com.au/sport/nrl/live-australia-vs-new-zealand-in-the-rugby-league-anzac-test/news-story/426e88e1d751ec245141a1d889c6a863
  31. ^ https://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/sport/nrl/teams/panthers/young-penrith-junior-winger-dallin-watenezelezniak-allegedly-attacked-during-match-while-volunteering-as-touch-judge/news-story/28887bcb2c902b9588053723322955a3
  32. ^ http://www.news.com.au/sport/nrl/life-ban-for-rugby-league-official-over-dallin-watenezelezniak-attack/news-story/05e3c8ce5ec634e553f95703ba2e9fad
  33. ^ https://www.nrl.com/news/2017/10/05/kiwis-world-cup-squad-named/
  34. ^ http://www.news.com.au/sport/nrl/rugby-league-world-cup-new-zealand-tonga-war-dances-were-spinetingling/news-story/9e2b6c839588fcaaa632b9e16d1da199
  35. ^ "Spoons of wood, high hopes and chances lost... the final round storylines". Brisbane Times.
  36. ^ "The Dean Pay way: 'Unashamedly' old school". NRL.

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