Why new Shark Seumanufagai left the Tigers

When most were happy to stay on the bus at the Wests Tigers, Ava Seumanufagai decided to get off.

It was nothing personal with new coach Ivan Cleary. The powerful front-rower enjoyed a month under Cleary’s tutelage before he signed with the Cronulla Sharks in May for the 2018 and 2019 seasons.

While Cleary is a first-class coach, Seumanufagai is not convinced he is a miracle worker, even though he took the New Zealand Warriors to the 2008 preliminary final and 2011 grand final before guiding the Penrith Panthers to the 2014 preliminary final.

Seumanufagai, who had five years at Concord Oval, still thinks the Tigers returning to the NRL finals might be a year or two away. He’s never gone beyond 26 rounds and doesn’t like that in his resume.

“The decision for me was more about myself. I just needed to move. I needed a change,” the 26-year-old told NRL.com.

"So that’s what I based my decision on, not on the changes in the coaching staff.

“I’d been there for a while; I was after a breath of fresh air; we were in the papers all the time. It does get to you. So I made my decision relatively early on in the season.”

Seumanufagai knows he’s up against premiership-winning props in Andrew Fifita and Matt Prior for a starting spot, but he’s not fussed if he’s named in the 13 or on the interchange list.

“I just want to play finals. If they want me off the bench or starting I don’t care,” he said. “I haven’t played any finals footy yet so to be able to play in the finals would be massive for me.”

Certainly there are other NRL clubs that could propel Seumanufagai on his finals quest. So why the Sharks?

"Because it seemed Flanno (coach Shane Flanagan) and the boys had something really good going on here. From the wooden spoon to a premiership in the space of a few years. It’s obviously a winning culture.

“You get a lot tighter as you go through adversity. You’ve seen that at the Sharks. The culture seems to be player-driven. If they want to change things up and improve it comes from the ground up and not the top down. I wanted to come here and be a part of that culture.” :crazy

Interestingly Flanagan didn’t use that in his sales pitch to get the 114kg prop on his roster. In fact they didn’t even speak while negotiations were in progress.

“I’d already signed before I spoke with him,” Seumanufagai said. “The following week after we (the Tigers) played them (in Round 9) the texts started coming like ‘Looking forward to working with you’, ‘Anything you want to know just call’. It was all good positive stuff.”

Flanagan is fairly chuffed at securing his signature.

“He’s got a really big motor and can play good minutes,” Flanagan told NRL.com.

“He’s a different build to my other two. Matt Prior is tall and athletic and Andrew (Fifita) is a bigger body. Ava is kind of in between those two. He adds good shape to our front row. They will all play but I can’t say yet who starts and who comes off the bench. It’s a good dilemma to have.”

The presence of Fifita and Prior, alongside Paul Gallen and Luke Lewis, is part of the strong attraction for Seumanufagai to Southern Cross Group Stadium.

“I really want to bring in a bit of ball-playing into my game. I want to become more skilful with my footwork and offloads,” he said.

He now has some of the best mentors in rugby league to do just that. Fifita and Gallen registered 53 offloads each after 26 rounds in 2017. The Sharks were the only team to have two in the NRL top-five for offloads.

Fifita’s dancing feet had him at a club-high 94 tackle busts. Gallen (57) and Lewis (53) were the only other forwards in the Sharks’ top-five alongside outside backs Valentine Holmes and Sosaia Feki.

Seumanufagai continues the tradition of Tigers players moving to the Sutherland Shire.

Fifita, Chris Heighington and Beau Ryan have preceded him but didn’t influence his decision.

“I was a Parramatta junior so never got to play with those guys.”



https://www.nrl.com/news/2017/12/15/why-new-shark-seumanufagai-left-the-tigers/

Ava’s stats read……
5 years
3 good hit ups,
44997 lazy missed tackles.

For a big front man, he was easily dominated and never got over his opposite. Wish him well but cant say i am one bit upset about his decision.

Yet another player publicaly stating that they left to play finals footy.

@:

Yet another player publicaly stating that they left to play finals footy.

Maybe if he had pulled his finger out he may have!

Its funny how these players distance themselves from their teams results.

@:

Ava’s stats read……
5 years
3 good hit ups,
44997 lazy missed tackles.

For a big front man, he was easily dominated and never got over his opposite. Wish him well but cant say i am one bit upset about his decision.

I am over our club being trashed by these would be if they could be EX players …the quotes above say it all SEUMANUFAGAI IS A LOSER .

@:

Its funny how these players distance themselves from their teams results.

Yeh, Put em all in a room together and watch the finger pointing. It wasn’t my fault….

The sharks winning culture comes at a high price. Hope your nuts don’t shrivel like Gallens did seafoodbasketandfries.

Hope he knows its players like himself who make us miss the finals. Most average forward in a long time.

I’d love nothing more than to see Wests Tigers and Newcastle make the finals next season, while the Sharks, Roosters, Parra & Bulldogs all miss out.

The funny thing is family members of this guy have stated he left because he was offered more money from the Sharks

No point getting annoyed or personal over him leaving. He wanted a change because he wants to play finals football, so be it. Personally I think Cronulla will slide a little further down the ladder next season. Losing guys like Bird and Maloney hurts them and Gallen and Lewis are not going to get any better at their age.

@:

Yet another player publicaly stating that they left to play finals footy.

When it’s one player, you can brush it off. When it’s several, it makes you wonder why if these guys believe that they are good enough that they are entitled to play finals, why didn’t they make a pact to lead their former club to the finals? Instead they took the cowards way out and threw their former teammates under the bus. “They weren’t good enough to get me to the finals, so I had to go out and find teammates that could”. The day any of these guys are welcomed back to the club will be the day my membership is thrown into the garbage. The only player I can see ever coming back though is Woods. Wether that’s in 4 years or when his career is over, either way, the door should be permanently shut to that buffoon. The biggest act of cowardice I have ever seen from a captain was to go on tv and throw his club under the bus, He’s a disgrace.

As for Ava, I’m very disappointed. Up until now, he’d been an example of how to leave a club with class. We plucked him from Parra NYC, gave him an opportunity and he played 100 games. I could understand if we had duded him and he had an axe to grind, but we didn’t and he doesn’t. And to complain about us always being in the news, when only a short time ago, his new club that supposedly has a great culture was embroiled in drugs is laughable.

I agree with Willow, I think they will slide even further in 2018. Their halves are weaker, and I think Gallen and Lewis will show their age. I think they will look like players who played a year too long. Their premiership window has closed.

@:

@:

Yet another player publicaly stating that they left to play finals footy.

When it’s one player, you can brush it off. When it’s several, it makes you wonder why if these guys believe that they are good enough that they are entitled to play finals, why didn’t they make a pact to lead their former club to the finals? Instead they took the cowards way out and threw their former teammates under the bus. “They weren’t good enough to get me to the finals, so I had to go out and find teammates that could”. The day any of these guys are welcomed back to the club will be the day my membership is thrown into the garbage. The only player I can see ever coming back though is Woods. Wether that’s in 4 years or when his career is over, either way, the door should be permanently shut to that buffoon. The biggest act of cowardice I have ever seen from a captain was to go on tv and throw his club under the bus, He’s a disgrace.

As for Ava, I’m very disappointed. Up until now, he’d been an example of how to leave a club with class. We plucked him from Parra NYC, gave him an opportunity and he played 100 games. I could understand if we had duded him and he had an axe to grind, but we didn’t and he doesn’t. And to complain about us always being in the news, when only a short time ago, his new club that supposedly has a great culture was embroiled in drugs is laughable.

I agree with Willow, I think they will slide even further in 2018. Their halves are weaker, and I think Gallen and Lewis will show their age. I think they will look like players who played a year too long. Their premiership window has closed.

^Bold, underlined, enough said.

He left for money plain and simple. He can spin it however he wants.

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