Fusitu'a granted Warriors NRL release

After eight NRL seasons and 108 games, David Fusitu'a has left the Warriors and headed for the UK.
After eight NRL seasons and 108 games, David Fusitu'a has left the Warriors and headed for the UK.

Warriors winger David Fusitu'a has received an early release from the remaining two years of his NRL contract to take up an offer in the Super League.

Since winning the 2018 Ken Irvine Medal by scoring 23 tries in as many games, Fusitu'a has struggled to rediscover the form which made him one of the most devastating finishers in the competition.

The winger is understood to have been the subject of interest from the Catalans Dragons but will instead link up with the Leeds Rhinos in the Super League on a two-year deal.

Fusitu'a, who made his NRL debut in 2014 and scored 61 tries in 108 games, struggled with a positional switch to the centres in 2020 before returning to New Zealand midway through the season due to personal reasons.

He was given a fresh start on the wing by coach Nathan Brown at the beginning of the 2021 season, but failed to score a try in five games before succumbing to a recurring hamstring injury.

"David has an opportunity to secure his future in the United Kingdom and wants the chance to make a fresh start," Warriors recruitment manager Peter O'Sullivan said.

"He has had a difficult time in 2020 and 2021 but, at his best, he is one of the leading outside backs in the game. Going to the Super League gives him the chance to rediscover his form.

"As our longest-serving Warriors player he has made a huge contribution to the club. We thank him for his service and wish David and his family all the best for the future."

Fusitua's departure represents a changing of the guard for the Warriors with a number of club stalwarts moving onto pastures new over the past 12 months.

Former captain Roger Tuivasa-Sheck moved to rugby union, winger Ken Maumalo linked up with the Wests Tigers midway through 2021 and prop Leeson Ah Mau announced his retirement at the age of 31 over the weekend.

Ah Mau hung up the boots after playing 223 first grade games and also winning Test honours for Samoa and the Kiwis.

Australian Associated Press