Entering his fourth season in first-grade, Sauaso Sue continued his rise as one of the best up-and-coming forwards in the game with a stellar 2016 season.
Overcoming minor injuries and a concussion early in the season, 24-year-old played 21 of a possible 24 games in season 2016 — starting in all bar three of those matches — and ended the year in a strong front row combination with captain Aaron Woods.
Sue scored a career-high four tries in 2016, all coming in the last six games of the year as he helped Wests Tigers come within a point of qualifying for the finals series.
The explosive forward averaged an impressive 100 metres per game, and finished the year as one of the Club’s best tacklers — registering a 93% effective tackle rate.
As impressive as Sue was on the field, the Otahuhu-born forward also made a noticeable impact off the field — stepping up to the Club’s leadership group for the first time, and also becoming a beyondblue Ambassador with Chris Lawrence to help raise awareness and reduce the stigma surrounding mental health in rugby league.
Sauaso was rewarded for his outstanding efforts with a new two-year contract during the year — keeping him at Wests Tigers until the end of the 2018 season.
2016 Year in Numbers
Top Try — Round 25 vs. New Zealand Warriors
Scoring his first ever double in the NRL, Sue’s second try against the Warriors proved crucial in his side’s stirring second half comeback win, and showcased the subtle skills the big man has close to the line. After a quick play the ball, Sue repositioned himself well next to five-eighth Mitchell Moses, before exploding through the line off a standing start to put his team back into the contest and pave the way for an eventual 36-24 win.
Best Game — Round 4 vs. Parramatta Eels
His side might have got shut-out, but there was no denying the impact that Sue had in the middle of the field against a high-octane Parramatta pack in Round 4.
Starting at lock forward, Sue played a season-high 55 minutes in the defeat, registering an impressive 16 hit-ups, 151 metres, 31 tackles and two offloads.
Magic Moment — Round 22 vs. North Queensland Cowboys
Again, it was the combination of Woods and Sue that provided the 24-year-old with his magic moment of the year against the Cowboys at Leichhardt Oval — timing his run perfectly off the shoulder of Woods to break through the tackle of Jonathan Thurston close to the line and ensure a stunning upset win over the defending premiers.
Milestones and Achievements
2016 Wests Tigers Leadership Group
2016 Wests Tigers beyondblue Ambassador
Samoa Representative — May (vs. Tonga), October (vs. Fiji)