Young guns - Ava Seumanufagai
2013 NRL games: 15
Seumanufagai made a name for himself last year in the NSW Cup as Balmain reached the Grand Final, only to go down narrowly to Newtown.
A tough off-season under coach Mick Potter has helped develop the hard-working prop, with Ava making his NRL debut in Round 3 against Parramatta.
Called upon originally to fill the void when Keith Galloway suffered a torn pectoral in Round 2, Ava has had an impressive debut season playing 15 matches so far.
In and out of the side in the first few weeks after making his debut, the Baulkham Hills junior hit his stride mid season and hasnt missed a game since Round 10.
2013 has been a breakout year for Ava and with another pre-season under his belt, Wests Tigers fans can expect even bigger things in 2014.
- Averages 7 runs for 56 metres per game
- Wins 75% of his attacking play the balls (provides quick play the balls)
- Averages 17 tackles per game
MICK POTTER SAYS
Avas pre-season was a tough one for him with how hard we went. He did it tough but you could see the improvement. All of his testing was on the up; he improved dramatically in the gym as far as strength is concerned. He got a little bit more powerful, but also his speed endurance made a rapid improvement.
His development as a player in first grade has come along way. Ava was shy, unassuming, wouldnt say much and quickly realised that if he was going to make it, he had to talk and let people know what he was doing. He had to let them know that he wanted the play and could communicate in the defensive line. He has realised that it is an important part of the game and it took him a few games to get to a point where he was comfortable. Now he is picked every week because he has really good carries and is tight defensively. He works really hard.
In a way it (injuries at the Club) was fortunate for him, but you take your chances. A lot of people get opportunities due to other peoples misfortune and thats the nature of the game. Ava has taken his opportunity and while we havent overall secured results as a team, certainly his efforts have helped us. Itll be very good for his development in the future because he still has a little way to go to match it with the top teams.
Next season I expect him to be stronger and fitter, probably around the same size but even more powerful. If you stay the same its like going backwards, I think for Ava he needs to keep getting better because each year the competition gets better. He needs to go that bit extra, be able to play more minutes and just develop a little bit more skill with what he does.
READ PART 1- DAVID NOFOALUMA
READ PART 2 - SAUASO SUE
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