|Born||2 October 1995|
Avarua, Cook Islands
|Height||190 cm (6 ft 3 in)|
|Weight||112 kg (17 st 9 lb)|
|Position||Prop, Lock, Second-row|
As of 25 October 2022
Tepai Moeroa (born 2 October 1995) is a Cook Islands professional rugby league footballer who plays as a prop, lock or second-rower for the Melbourne Storm in the NRL and the Cook Islands at international level.
Tepai started his Rugby Union career playing fullback for the highly successful Rooty Hill Raptors Junior Rugby Union club in western Sydney. When Tepai moved to Newington College he was no longer able to play club Rugby but continued to play Rugby Union for Newington before being signed by the Parramatta Eels.
After playing with the Penrith Panthers, Moeroa joined the Parramatta Eels. Moeroa played for the Eels' Harold Matthews Cup team in 2010 and the S. G. Ball Cup team in 2011. In 2011, Moeroa played for the New South Wales under 16s team and was selected for the under 18s team in 2013 but had to withdraw because of rugby union commitments. In 2012, Moeroa played for the Australian Schoolboys rugby union team in 2013, along with the Australian rugby sevens team. Moeroa received 9 caps over two years playing for Australian Schoolboys, the third highest number of caps equal with Quade Cooper and Kurtley Beale. Moeroa played for the Parramatta Eels NYC team in 2013 and 2014. Moeroa has been compared with Sonny Bill Williams, who is also a cross-code athlete.
In round 18 of the 2014 NRL season, Moeroa made his NRL debut for the Parramatta Eels against the New Zealand Warriors playing off the interchange bench in the Eels 48–0 loss at Mt Smart Stadium. In his next match in round 19 against the South Sydney Rabbitohs, Moeroa scored his first NRL career try in the Eels' 12-32 loss at Parramatta Stadium. On 24 July 2014, Moeroa re-signed with Parramatta on a three-year contract to the end of the 2017 season after Super Rugby clubs Waikato Chiefs and New South Wales Waratahs were trying to sign him to return to rugby union. Moeroa finished off his debut year in the NRL with him playing in 9 matches and scoring 3 tries for the Eels in the 2014 NRL season. On 2 September 2014, Moeroa was named at second-row in the NYC team of the year. In late September 2014, Moeroa was contacted by New Zealand Kiwis officials asking about his international intentions, wanting to include him in the Kiwis squad for the 2014 Four Nations, although Moeroa turned down the opportunity to pursue his dream of representing New South Wales in State of Origin and Australia and the country of his birth Cook Islands. On 18 December 2014, Moeroa was selected in the Emerging Blues Camp by Laurie Daley, identifying him as well as 21 others as potential future New South Wales State of Origin players.
On 31 January and 1 February, Moeroa played for the Eels in the 2015 NRL Auckland Nines. On 2 May, Moeroa played for the Junior Kangaroos against Junior Kiwis, starting at second-row, scoring a try and being named Man of the Match in the Kangaroos' 22-20 win at Cbus Super Stadium. He finished off the 2015 season having played in 19 matches and scoring 1 try for the Eels. On 26 September, he played for the Prime Minister's XIII against Papua New Guinea, playing at second-row in his team's 40-12 win at Port Moresby.
In February 2017, Moeroa was named in the Eels 2017 NRL Auckland Nines squad. On 10 February 2017, Moeroa played in the 2017 All Stars match for the World All Stars against the Indigenous All Stars where he started at lock in the 34-8 loss at Hunter Stadium. Moeroa was part of the parramatta side which finished fourth in the regular season but were eliminated in the finals series losing to Melbourne and North Queensland. On 19 December 2017, Moeroa was named in the emerging blues squad by coach Brad Fittler.
Moeroa started the 2018 season at Lock and played the first six games of the season until suffering a serious concussion in Round 6 and was ruled out for 2 weeks. On 2 June 2018, Moeroa was placed on report after using an illegal shoulder charge against Newcastle player Chris Heighington in Parramatta's 30-4 defeat. On 4 June 2018, Moeroa was suspended for 3 matches after taking an early guilty plea. In total, Moeroa made 19 appearances for Parramatta as the club endured a horror season finishing in last place on the table and claiming its 14th wooden spoon.
Moeroa started the 2019 NRL season in the front row but switched back to lock as Parramatta won their first 2 games against Penrith and Canterbury. In Round 6, Moeroa played from the bench as Parramatta defeated Wests Tigers 51-6 in the first NRL match to be played at the new Western Sydney Stadium.
Following Parramatta's 44-22 loss against Cronulla in Round 13, Moeroa was demoted to reserve grade by coach Brad Arthur after the club had only recorded one win in five matches. Moeroa was recalled to the Parramatta side for their Round 15 match against Canberra which Parramatta won 22-16 after being down 16-0 earlier on in the game at TIO Stadium in Darwin.
In the elimination final against Brisbane, Moeroa scored his first try of the season as Parramatta won the match 58-0 at the new Western Sydney Stadium. The victory was the biggest finals win in history, eclipsing Newtown's 55-7 victory over St George in 1944. The match was also Parramatta's biggest victory over Brisbane and Brisbane's worst ever loss since entering the competition in 1988.
On 10 October, Moeroa was named in the Cook Islands squad for the 2019 Rugby League World Cup 9s.
On June 10, Melbourne announced that Moeroa had been signed for the remainder of the 2021 NRL season, after securing a release from the NSW Waratahs. He made his debut for the club in round 21 against Manly. Moeroa subsequently signed a contract extension to stay with Melbourne to the end of the 2023 season.
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- "Moeroa confirmed in PM's XIII - Eels". Parraeels.com.au. Retrieved 27 September 2015.
- Tom Decent. "Australian Prime Minister's XIII beat Papua New Guinea 40-12 in Port Moresby". Smh.com.au. Retrieved 26 December 2015.
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- Encarnacion, Matt (2 May 2018). "Eels upset over Arthur locker room claims". The Sydney Morning Herald.
- "NRL shoulder charge bans: Tepai Moeroa, Jack Gosiewski suspended". 4 June 2018.
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- "NRL Round 12 teams analysis: Brad Arthur drops four players, while Rabbitohs, Panthers forced to dig deep". www.foxsports.com.au.
- "NRL Team Analysis: Team news, injury updates and suspensions ahead of Round 14". Fox Sports.
- "Parramatta Eels slip through Canberra Raiders' grasp". Canberra Times.
- "Moeroa: rugby switch was now or never". Northern Daily Leader.
- "Parramatta Eels eliminate Brisbane Broncos from the NRL Finals with a thumping 58-0 win". ABC.
- "Melbourne Storm crush Parramatta 32-0 in their semi-final to set up prelim against the Roosters". ABC.
- "Moeroa to join Melbourne Storm". melbournestorm.com.au. Retrieved 10 June 2021.
- "2021 Signings Tracker: Brailey a Knight until 2025; Moeroa re-signs". NRL.com. Retrieved 5 September 2021.
Mid-season recruit Tepai Meoroa has signed a two-year contract extension with premiers Melbourne. The former Parramatta Eel linked with Storm in June on a short-term deal after a stint in rugby with the NSW Waratahs and has played three matches at his new club to take his career tally to 115 in the NRL. Initially contracted to the end of this season, the 25-year-old will now wear the purple jersey until the end of 2023.
- "Canberra Raiders upset ends Melbourne Storm's September reign". www.theguardian.com.