Despite no official confirmation from the club, Leigh Leopards forward Ava Seumanufagai has departed and will take up a captain-coach role Down Under with semi-professional outfit Campbelltown City Kangaroos.
The prop, who was born in New Zealand, joined the Leopards prior to their 2023 Super League comeback. He went on to play in 17 games, all but one of which were as an interchange, and in a May victory over the Castleford Tigers, he scored the lone try.
Seumanufagai was not selected even though Adrian Lam’s team won the Challenge Cup at Wembley in August. Nevertheless, he already has a tournament winners’ medal, which he obtained three years earlier when playing for Leeds Rhinos.
The 32-year-old, who has made 49 appearances overall in the British game, is now focusing on Grade 6 Rugby League in Australia. He will captain Campbelltown’s oldest rugby league team and assume leadership roles in the upcoming season.
Ava Seumanufagai, a former powerhouse for the Leeds Rhinos and Leigh Leopards, leaves for a coaching position in Australia Prop Over the course of his career, Seumanufagai has also made close to 150 appearances in the NRL, the great majority of which have been with the Wests Tigers, with a small number being divided between the Cronulla Sharks and the Canterbury Bulldogs.
Even though he didn’t make an official appearance, the veteran represented Samoa internationally by participating in their “train-on camps” that turned into competitions.
The next phase of his career, he indicated in an interview with the Australian news organization “South West Voice,” is to pursue a coaching pathway.
“I am incredibly appreciative of the Kangaroos for this chance, and I am excited to teach and develop each and every one of our players to their full potential. I will continue to lead the way onto and off the field while playing.
“I’m excited to demonstrate to many of our young athletes what it takes to play professional football.”
Although Leigh hasn’t yet made public a “departures” or “retentions list,” Seumanufagai will become the team’s fourth departing player from the 2023 roster.
Ben Reynolds’ move to Featherstone Rovers was officially announced last month, and Joe Wardle’s move to Oldham as a player-coach was completed before the year ended. Oliver Gildart’s short-term deal was only ever until the end of the season, having already agreed to join Hull KR from 2024.
At the Leigh Sports Village, there are now five players that are not under contract: Nathan Wilde, Aaron Smith, Ben Nakubuwai, Tom Nisbet, and Jacob Jones.