Former Leeds Rhinos Prop Ava Seumanfagai has been released from the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs for the upcoming NRL season.
The 141-game Bulldog was recently omitted from the club’s top 30 announcement, which announced the club’s players going forward for the 22-23 NRL season.
In a statement released on the club’s website, they said that “despite any speculation, Ava’s exit from the Club has been an amicable one as he leaves the NRL to pursue another opportunity”.
The Bulldogs Chief Executive Aaron Warburton said: “Ava brought great energy and experience to Belmore. He was a leader amongst the younger players and was someone who always led the way in terms of his attitude at training and desire to improve”
Mr Warburton added: “The Bulldogs would like to thank Ava for guiding his teammates and for his work ethic and contribution to our Club. We wish him and his family all the best for their future endeavours”.
Ava Seumanfagai was released by the Rhinos in 2019 due to family reasons. During his time at the club he won the Challenge Cup and played 32 games before his departure.
A return to the Rhinos?
Ava Seumanfagai would be a welcome return to the Rhinos. During his stint at Headingley, he proved to be a dominant carrier of the ball, something which the Rohan Smith could use this season. He will also allow for rotation in the front row, and allow players like Mikolaj Oledzki to be rested whilst retaining the brute strength needed in Super League.
The comments of Bulldogs CEO Aaron Warburton also show why he would be a great acquisition for the Rhinos. The current squad is filled with young, promising talent. Ava Seumanfagai would be a great leader for them, as has proven at the Bulldogs.
One issue is the quota. The recent retirement of Matt Prior has left a space on the Rhinos quota, but with the club being linked to Nene MacDonald, head coach Smith will have to decide which player they prioritise. Nene would fill a gap in the back line and sure up the midfield options for, whilst also allowing for more rotation across the backline.