Leeds Rhinos in focus - big-name signing Ava Seumanufagai is a Super League hit

Leeds Rhinos have looked a much more solid team since Ava Seumanufagai joined them in May last year.

By Peter Smith
Sunday, 5th July 2020, 8:22 pm

Having made his debut in Dave Furner’s final match as coach, he has missed only two games for Leeds and scored two tries in 19 appearances.

So what will the former from West Tigers and Cronulla Sharks forward bring to Rhinos’ side once Betfred Super League resumes on August 2?

Attributes:

Ava Seumanufagai scores against Warrington. Picture by Bruce Rollinson.

With 118 NRL games under his belt, Seumanufagai is an experienced front-rower with a high work-rate.

He was brought in to give Rhinos some go-forward and has added size and physicality to a relatively young pack.

At 29 he is approaching his peak as a front-rower and, after being mainly used off the interchange bench in the NRL, he has become an established member of Rhinos’ starting side.

Defining moment:

Ava Seumanufagai and teammates celebrate his try against Warrington. Picture by Bruce Rollinson.

Yet to come, Rhinos will hope, but he was a try scorer in the crucial win at London Broncos last August which secured Super League survival and also touched down when Warrington were crushed 36-0 at Emerald Headingley in February.

Best season:

Still a relative Super League rookie, Seumanufagai was ever-present for Wests in the 2016 NRL campaign.

Concerns:

Ava Seumanufagai takes on the Salford defence during Rhinos' win in February. Picture by Steve Riding.

Seumanufagai is out of contract at the end of next year and will inevitably attract NRL interest if he maintains his early Rhinos form.

At more than 18 stone (115kg) he is a big man and proposed new laws to keep the game moving - including the ‘six again’ rule and abolishing scrums for the rest of this season - might impact him more than most.

Value:

The New Zealand-born prop has done exactly the job Rhinos signed him to do.

He strengthened Rhinos’ struggling middle unit last year, defensively and with the ball and it’s no coincidence half the points Leeds have conceded in 2020 came in the one game he has missed.

A faster game and packed schedule will be tough for players in his position, but Rhinos’ management will want him on the field as much as possible.

A message from the Editor:

Thank you for reading this story on our website. These are challenging times but the team at the Yorkshire Evening Post need your support more than ever in the weeks ahead.

While I have your attention, I also have an important request to make of you. In order for us to continue to provide high quality and trusted local news on this free-to-read site, I am asking you - wherever possible and providing it is safe for you to do so - to also please purchase a copy of our newspaper.

Inevitably falling advertising revenues will start to have an impact on local newspapers and the way we continue to work during this period of uncertainty. So the support of our readers has never been more important as we try to make sure that we keep you connected with the city you live in during this time. But being your eyes and ears comes at a price. We need your support more than ever to buy our newspapers during this crisis.

Our team of trusted reporters are working incredibly hard behind the scenes- from kitchen tables and spare bedrooms - to look at how we can do this and your continued support to the YEP will help to protect its viability in the days and weeks ahead.

For more details on our subscription offers please visit www.localsubsplus.co.uk/YEP, email [email protected] or call us on 0330 4033004

Thank you

Laura Collins

Editor

READ MORE:

https://www.yorkshireeveningpost.co.uk/news/opinion/were-therewithyou-now-your-yep-needs-your-support-too-laura-collins-yep-editor-2521777