Even as Leigh Leopards won the first Challenge Cup Final without Leeds Rhinos, Wigan Warriors, Warrington Wolves and St Helens against Hull KR, there was still one player being talked about.
Three minutes into the final, Leigh took a 2-0 lead after Hull KR were penalised when Elliot Minchella took exception to a particular tackle from John Asiata.
Asiata has been tackling low in what Johnathon Davies described on BBC as “proper tackles.”
However, after he injured four St Helens players in the semi-final it has caused a lot of discussion and now Leigh owner Derek Beaumont has weighed in.
“The best human being I’ve met in the game is just an absolute quality human being,” he said on the Last Tackle.
“He’s so selfless, so charitable, thinks about others. He’s a great leader with his actions. His actions are always louder than his words, but when he speaks people take notice and he speaks well. He puts his body on the line and he’s so committed.
“He goes out in the community, he coaches one of the local amateur teams and he’s taking the cup this afternoon to Darien House in Chorley, that a lot of rugby people help out and get involved in. I spoke to John for about an hour to convince him to sign for us during the whole COVID situation.
“My views on it is the same my charity stuff is and it was an hour’s talk of a just a real connection and we’ve just got this special connection and he’s a fantastic man who I’ll always be in debt to along with the rest of the players.”
He did admit he doesn’t like Asiata’s tackle technique but explained it only gets dangerous when he is tired: “We don’t like that tackle technique because it puts John at risk as well. He’ll get looked at at the end of the year but I think the reasons he should be talked about are the ones you just talked about.
“So he’s a massive, massive part in what we do with the ball and huge in defence. That was just desperation. People run at him, they target him, tire him out. They got our middles off before half-time.
“The only teams who have done it this year to us since, they’ve worked hard on it. And when he gets tired he’ll do desperate actions, and if he tries a conventional tackle he’ll just put his head there and that’s what he did and if he tries a conventional tackle he’ll pass his scores and we don’t know to handle it.”