Ava Seumanufagai’s first words as a Leigh Leopards player

Leigh Leopards have confirmed the signing of prop Ava Seumanufagai on a contract until the end of the 2023 season.

The 31-year-old prop forward, who has extensive NRL and Super League experience, is expected to join up with his new teammates later this week.

Debuting for Wests Tigers in 2013, Seumanufagai has clocked up over 140 appearances in the NRL and enjoyed a two-year spell in the UK with Leeds Rhinos in 2019-20.

“I’m really excited to be given the opportunity to join the Leigh Leopards and get back into Super League.

“I’m looking forward to meeting all the boys and a big 2023. See you soon.”

The Leopards are hoping he will arrive on Wednesday meaning he could feature against Salford Red Devils in the season opener.

The prop originally joined Super League when he arrived at Leeds in May 2019 from Cronulla Sharks debuting against Castleford Tigers.

He would help steer Leeds away from relegation before being a key part of the Rhinos’ side who won the 2020 Challenge Cup against Salford Red Devils.

However, because of the pandemic and a desire to go home and see his family, Seumanufagai left at the end of 2020 and was replaced by King Vuniyayawa who now plies his trade at Salford Red Devils.

As for Seumanufagai, he joined the Canterbury Bulldogs and began forcing his way into the first choice 17 alongside former St Helens man Luke Thompson.

However, going into 2023, he and the club agreed to an amicable release and it was reported down under that he was returning to Super League but this was over two months ago.

But Leigh have been quick to secure his signature after seemingly beginning their pursuit last night having beaten his former club 14-12.

He will likely take the number 27 shirt in 2023 after numbers one to 26 were confirmed recently by the club.

His arrival comes after Beaumont said the club were interested in another middle forward and would make more signings.

They have filled the wing and prop spots they wanted with Umyla Hanley joining from Wigan Warriors but Adrian Lam said that they could make further signings during the 2023 season.