It’s been a difficult first season in Super League for David Fusitu’a.
The Tongan international was a proven try scorer in the NRL finishing 2018 as the league’s top scorer but injuries had stifled his development in the years since.
The same has derailed him at Headingley in 2022. He went off injured on debut against Warrington but soon notched his first try away at Wakefield on his return to the side.
Since then he’s been in and out of the side through injury but when he has been fit has looked very impressive with tries against Wakefield, Warrington and Hull FC. He’s also particularly impressive at the starts of sets.
The winger was always a doubt going into the trip to Catalans yesterday due to an ankle injury picked up against Wigan last week though he had trained and was expected to play. However, Leeds took the decision to allow him to stay at home with him and his partner expecting their second baby.
This opened the door for impressive young winger Liam Tindall to take over on the right flank for the Rhinos.
Tindall caught the eye earlier this season with an amazing break against Wigan in Round Two filling in for Fusitu’a on that occasion.
A young player with high potential, Tindall proved that yesterday with a good showing in a tough game against the Catalans Dragons in which Leeds battled back from 30-6 down to win in golden point 36-32 thanks to an Aidan Sezer winner. This was all done whilst a man down.
Tindall played a key role in the build up to Leeds’ last try of normal time for Brad Dwyer as he broke a number of tackles which seems to be where he excels.
In fact, he remarkably made 12 tackle busts from 11 carries yesterday which is a truly remarkable sum. He also made 52 metres from those carrries.
To put that into perspective, Derrell Olpherts is the competition leader for tackle busts with 99 this season. That’s an average of around 5 per game so Tindall more than doubled the average of the competition leader in that department.
It’s interesting that Olpherts leads the way in this area given he’s been widely tipped for a move to Headingley.
Though Leeds are very settled with Fusitu’a and Ash Handley on the wings with both set to start against Salford next week and even though the club are routinely linked with a move for Olpherts, Liam Tindall is certainly Leeds’ winger for the future and a player set to have a big impact on Rohan Smith’s project at Headingley in the coming years.