Dallin Watene-Zelezniak

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Dallin "DWZ" Watene-Zelezniak
Dallin Watene-Zelezniak.jpg
Personal information
Full nameDallin Watene-Zelezniak
Born (1995-08-17) 17 August 1995 (age 27)
Hamilton, New Zealand
Height186 cm (6 ft 1 in)
Weight97 kg (15 st 4 lb)
Playing information
PositionWing, Fullback, Centre
Years Team Pld T G FG P
2014–19 Penrith Panthers 106 41 0 0 164
2019–21 Canterbury Bulldogs 37 8 0 0 32
2021– New Zealand Warriors 27 13 0 0 52
Total 170 62 0 0 248
Years Team Pld T G FG P
2016–22 New Zealand 12 6 0 0 24
2020–21 Māori All Stars 2 2 0 0 8
Source: [1]
As of 3 September 2022

Dallin Watene-Zelezniak (born 17 August 1995) is a New Zealand professional rugby league footballer who plays as a winger or fullback for the New Zealand Warriors in the NRL and New Zealand at international level.

He previously played for the Penrith Panthers and the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs in the National Rugby League.


Watene-Zelezniak was born in Hamilton, New Zealand, and is of Māori, Tongan and Polish descent and is from the Waikato Tainui Iwi. Watene-Zelezniak lived in Ngāruawāhia,[2] before moving to Sydney, New South Wales, Australia as a 5-year old.

He played his junior rugby league for the St Clair Comets, before being signed by the Penrith Panthers.[3] He attended St.Dominic’s College, Penrith and Patrician Brothers' College, Blacktown.[4]

Watene-Zelezniak is the great-grandson of former New Zealand rugby league captain and politician, Steve Watene.[5] Watene-Zelezniak is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church).[5] 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.[6] 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.[7][8] On 6 October 2013, Watene-Zelezniak played in the Panthers 2013 Holden Cup Grand Final against the New Zealand Warriors, playing on the wing in the 42–30 victory.[9] 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.[10] 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.[11]


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.[12] 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.[13] 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.[14][15]


On 5 February 2015, Watene-Zelezniak extended his contract with the Panthers until the end of 2016.[16] 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.[17] 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.[18][19][20] Watene-Zelezniak finished off the 2015 NRL season with him playing in 16 matches and scoring 7 tries for the Panthers.[21] On 10 November 2015, Watene-Zelezniak extended his contract with the Panthers until the end of 2017.[22]


In February, Watene-Zelezniak was named in the Panthers' 2016 NRL Auckland Nines squad.[23] 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.[24][25] 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.[26]


On 3 April 2017, Watene-Zelezniak extended his contract with the Panthers to the end of the 2020 season.[27] 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.[28] 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.[29] The official was later copped with a lifetime banned from Junior Rugby League.[30] 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.[31] 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.[32] 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 in his first year at the club. During the mid-way part of the season, Canterbury 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.[33][34]


In round 12 of the 2020 NRL season against arch rivals Parramatta, Watene-Zelezniak played the ball in the opposite direction giving a penalty to Parramatta in which they scored off the next play. Canterbury would go on to lose the match 18-16 at ANZ Stadium leaving them on the bottom of the table.[35]

He made a total of 18 appearances for Canterbury in the 2020 NRL season. The club finished in 15th place on the table, only avoiding the Wooden Spoon by for and against.[36]


In round 1 of the 2021 NRL season, he scored two tries for Canterbury in a 32-16 loss against Newcastle.[37] On 20 June, Watene-Zelezniak played his final game for Canterbury in round 15 against Parramatta which ended in a 36-10 defeat. He then signed a three-and-a-half year deal to join the New Zealand Warriors effective immediately.[38] On 2 July, Watene-Zelezniak played his first game for the New Zealand Warriors in a one point loss to St. George Illawarra.


He made a total of 19 appearances for the New Zealand Warriors in the 2022 NRL season as they finished 15th on the table.[39]

Personal life[edit]

Dallin Watene-Zelezniak with his brother started a watch Company W Zelezniak.[40][41] Dallin Watene-Zelezniak is the younger brother of former NRL player Malakai Watene-Zelezniak[42]


  1. ^ "Dallin Watene-Zelezniak - Career Stats & Summary". Rugby League Project.
  2. ^ "Ngaruawahia teen bags debut double". Stuff.co.nz. 6 April 2014. Retrieved 10 November 2015.
  3. ^ Massoud, Josh (21 November 2013). "Penrith whiz-kid Dallin Watene-Zelezniak on idol Will Hopoate's path". Daily Telegraph.
  4. ^ Michael Chammas. "No rookie mistakes but Moylan could still lose Penrith fullback role to teen". Smh.com.au. Retrieved 10 November 2015.
  5. ^ a b Lane, Daniel (4 April 2014). "Penrith rookie Dallin Watene-Zelezniak shapes up to a family legend". Sydney Morning Herald.
  6. ^ "Panthers re-sign talented youngsters". Penrith Panthers. 24 April 2014. Archived from the original on 31 May 2014.
  7. ^ "The Under 18s NSW Blues thump Queensland". Parramatta Eels. 27 June 2013.
  8. ^ "Two Penrith Panthers Star Juniors selected in NSW Under-18 Origin Side". Dailytelegraph.com.au. Retrieved 10 November 2015.
  9. ^ Horne, Ben (6 October 2013). "Gould's rookies win 20s thriller". dailytelegraph.
  10. ^ Massoud, Josh (20 November 2013). "Penrith whiz-kid on idol's path". dailytelegraph.
  11. ^ "Junior Kiwis Vs Junior Kangaroos Result | Scoop News". www.scoop.co.nz.
  12. ^ Michael Chammas (5 April 2014). "Dallin Watene-Zelezniak stars on debut as Panthers beat Raiders". Smh.com.au. Retrieved 10 November 2015.
  13. ^ "Panther puts gouge nightmare behind him".
  14. ^ "Four rookies in Kiwis Four Nations squad - NRL.com". M.nrl.com. 7 October 2014. Retrieved 10 November 2015.
  15. ^ "New Zealand's Dallin Watene-Zelezniak to Miss Four Nations with Injury". Dailytelegraph.com.au. Retrieved 10 November 2015.
  16. ^ "Dallin Watene-Zelezniak 'grateful and blessed' to be re-signed by Penrith Panthers". Smh.com.au. Retrieved 10 November 2015.
  17. ^ "Dallin Watene-Zelezniak Ruled Out of New Zealand Test Team; Jason nightingale to Start against Australia". Dailytelegraph.com.au. Retrieved 26 December 2015.
  18. ^ 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.
  19. ^ "Panthers Fullback Dallin Watene-Zelezniak in hospital After suffering a Collapsed Lung". Dailytelegraph.com.au. Retrieved 26 December 2015.
  20. ^ "Ferguson Leads Roosters to Panthers Pasting". The Australian. Retrieved 26 December 2015.
  21. ^ "Custom Match List". Rugby League Project. 21 October 2015. Retrieved 26 December 2015.
  22. ^ "DWZ signs new Panthers deal | NRL". Zero Tackle. Retrieved 10 November 2015.
  23. ^ "Panthers name Auckland Nines squad". NRL.com. Retrieved 25 January 2016.
  24. ^ "Updated: Representative Round team lists". NRL.com. Retrieved 30 March 2017.
  25. ^ "Life is no beach for Dallin Watene-Zelezniak as he finally closes in on Kiwis debut | Stuff.co.nz". 4 April 2019. Archived from the original on 4 April 2019.
  26. ^ "Kiwis accused of disrespect after Scotland draw as Thomas Leuluai breaks jaw | Stuff.co.nz". 11 July 2017. Archived from the original on 11 July 2017.
  27. ^ "Penrith Panthers NRL contracts: Dallin Watene-Zelezniak re-signs". 3 April 2017.
  28. ^ "Subscribe to The Australian | Newspaper home delivery, website, iPad, iPhone & Android apps". www.theaustralian.com.au.
  29. ^ "Dailytelegraph.com.au | Subscribe to The Daily Telegraph for exclusive stories". www.dailytelegraph.com.au.
  30. ^ "Life ban for rugby league official over Dallin Watene-Zelezniak attack". NewsComAu. 24 July 2017.
  31. ^ "Kiwis World Cup squad named". National Rugby League. 5 October 2017.
  32. ^ "Rugby League World Cup: New Zealand, Tonga war dances were spine-tingling". NewsComAu. 11 November 2017.
  33. ^ "Spoons of wood, high hopes and chances lost... the final round storylines". Brisbane Times.
  34. ^ "The Dean Pay way: 'Unashamedly' old school". NRL.
  35. ^ "DWZ will never live down backwards play-the-ball blunder, Paul Gallen says". wwos.nine.com.au.
  36. ^ "Dogs confirm EIGHT-man clean-out in first glimpse of Barrett era". www.foxsports.com.au.
  37. ^ "Brisbane Broncos' NRL losing streak continues as Parramatta Eels score comeback 24-16 win; Newcastle Knights beat Bulldogs". www.abc.net.au.
  38. ^ "Bulldogs farewell Dallin Watene-Zelezniak effective immediately after 'emotional' haka". wwos.nine.com.au.
  39. ^ "Warriors farewell 15 players after return to New Zealand". www.foxsports.com.au.
  41. ^ "Malakai and Dallin Watene-Zelezniak NRL brothers, watch business, MVMT inspired". 28 February 2018.
  42. ^ "Brothers debate who is the real boss" – via www.nrl.com.

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