King Vuniyayawa keen to stay on at Leeds Rhinos next year

FIJIAN INTERNATIONAL King Vuniyayawa says his future remains up in the air, but he would like to be at Leeds Rhinos next term.

Thursday, 15th July 2021, 6:00 am

Vuniyayawa joined Rhinos in pre-season, having played five times in the NRL for New Zealand Warriors last year.

He is on a one-year contract and has yet to sign a deal for 2022 with Leeds or any other club, but confirmed he is keen to stay at Rhinos.

“I am talking to my managers and I let them do all that stuff, but I did tell them I do want to stay here for at least another year,” Vuniyayawa revealed.

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King Vuniyayawa takes on Catalans Dragons' Mike McMeeken last week. The Fijian international is keen to stay on at the Rhinos. Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe.

“I do enjoy it and the competition as well.”

Vuniyayawa said he has “a few other clubs I am looking at, just waiting on them to see if they are going to offer anything”.

But he stressed: “I would love to stay at Leeds.

“I like the club, I like the boys as a squad.

King Vuniyayawa. Picture: Tony Johnson.

“It is a great place to stay and live as well.

“I am getting used to the system at Leeds and how they play rugby and I am enjoying that.”

Despite two concussions, the 26-year-old has played in nine of Leeds’ 13 fixtures so far, all as a substitute and made an impact with some strong running and hard-hitting in defence. The first Fijian-born player to appear for the club, he added: “I am enjoying it here.

“I am in a new environment and things at home are good.

“With the footy side of things, we are getting there.

“That’s footy, you win some, you lose some, but we had a good run and it was new for me experiencing four games in 13 days. That’s crazy, but it has been good.”

Last Friday’s home defeat by Betfred Super League leaders Catalans Dragons – who Rhinos visit tomorrow for the return clash – ended a four-game winning run.

Leeds hit back from 8-0 behind to lead 18-8 at the break, but conceded 18 points without reply in the second half. With fresh players coming into the team, Vuniyayawa feels they can have a good finish to the year.

He said: “We got four [wins] in a row and the game against Catalans was there for us to take, but [Rhinos made] silly mistakes and we were our own worst enemies out there.

“But we feel like we are going to finish strongly, with everyone coming back. Injury-wise it has been hard on the boys, but I feel like the young boys step up and do their job when they get an opportunity.”

Of his own form, Vuniyayawa reckons he has shown some good signs, but is capable of much more.

He said: “I feel I can be better, make a better impact. That is something I am working on, trying not to give penalties away.

“I feel I could do better, but it took me a while to get used to the weather and stuff and find ways for me to adjust to how they play footy here.

“I feel like it is going okay, but I would like to do better and get some more minutes under my belt, because I think that would be good for me.”

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