Ava puts focus back on Tigers
Wests Tigers prop Ava Seumanufagai is relieved to have his future sorted "nice and early" and hopes to play as many games as he can for his current club before joining the Sharks from 2018.
The Wellington-born 26-year-old announced last month that his future lay in the Shire; he is scheduled to play his 100th NRL game for the Tigers against his future club in a fortnight.
"[My future] was weighing on my mind a fair bit," Seumanufagai told NRL.com.
"I've got my 100th coming up... I guess I've been here for so long but I've got to do what's best for myself and my family. The decision was based on what was best for myself but I do love the club.
"I'm hoping to play every game I can for the team this year, it's just keeping the body fresh. We're only halfway through the year and I'm starting to feel the body getting a bit niggly so I've got to look after the body," he added.
He said it was a relief to have his future sorted and allow him to focus on helping the club out of its current slump.
"In the past I've left it quite late so it's good to get it out of the way early and now I know what I'm doing. It's a lot less stressful," he added.
With forward stocks at the Tigers a little thin given skipper Aaron Woods's recent hamstring injury and current Origin duties, Seumanufagai has had to shoulder plenty of the load and he feels like this season has been more consistent than some prior years.
He is the only forward at the club other than Woods to be averaging more than 100 metres per game this year and is also averaging 23 tackles per game.
"I feel like I'm more consistent this year. Just trying to get small things into my game like talking more constructively during a game and talking under fatigue," he said.
Last weekend's 16-12 loss to the third-placed Dragons was disappointing given the team had chances to win the contest but still a marked improvement from the 36-0 loss to Brisbane a week before.
"My personal feeling is that there has been an improvement – I felt like we were in the game," he said.
"We let in one long range try and a soft try. I do think we were in the game and Dragons have proven to be a top side this year so it is an improvement from the week before.
"We were in the game to probably take the lead, we had enough opportunities to take the lead and we should have. We didn't capitalise on what we needed to so that will be something to look at this week.
"We've had a few injuries in the front row but other than that it was one thing we wanted to make sure of [against the Dragons] that we went toe to toe with their forwards."