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Playing just a handful of NRL games was Ava Seumanufagais goal for the 2013 season.

The Wellington-born prop finished with 17 NRL matches in his debut year, more games than experienced duo Keith Galloway and Aaron Woods.

Its a fair indication of the crippling injury toll that rattled Wests Tigers, however it was an opportunity that Seumanufagai was more than happy to take.

I was stoked with how many games I got in the end, I was pretty happy with how the year ended up, Seumanufagai said.

A smile comes across Seumanufagais face when his debut match is mentioned, a proud moment for the humble forward.

It was definitely one to remember, Seumanufagai said. I was excited, nervous and amped.

A pectoral injury to Galloway handed Seumanufagai his opportunity in round three, and what made it even more special was that the opponent was his former SG Ball and Holden Cup Club, the Parramatta Eels.

It was good to see a few familiar faces, Seumanufagai said. I was playing against some of the boys I grew up with actually when I first came to Australia.

Seumanufagai ended up being one of 10 Wests Tigers debutants in 2013, a staggering number considering that the average across the league was just 4.4 per Club.

With the addition of Martin Taupau, along with existing team mates Galloway, Woods, Jack Buchanan and Under 20s star Nathan Brown in the 2014 squad, Seumanufagai has plenty of competition for a place in Mick Potters side.

I got a chance through injury but next year a lot of the boys will be back, he said. Its a good time to test myself and see how far I can go, hopefully I can earn my spot in the team.

Growing up playing Rugby Union, Seumanufagai was scouted by the Eels whilst playing a Schoolboy Rugby League competition at 17-years-old.

Leaving his home suburb of Wainuiomata in the Wellington region, Seumanufagai now spends the majority of his spare time flying home to visit family.

I went back to Wellington for a few weeks in the offseason and caught up with family and friends, Seumanufagai said. I usually go back in the Bye weekends, the offseason and Christmas; pretty much as often as I can.

Its clear to see that family is what drives the hard running forward to succeed.

My Dad is really proud of me and Mum was there for my debut at Leichhardt Oval, unfortunately Dad had to work," Seumanufagai said.

My family have helped me a lot through my juniors, its really good to have family behind you.



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