Exclusive: Salford Red Devils star forward reveals NRL ambitions amid career-best form debate

Josh McAllister
King Vuniyayawa, Salford Red Devils, NRL

Salford Red Devils star forward King Vuniyayawa admits he wants a second shot in the NRL before the end of his playing career.

A late bloomer to the professional scene, the Fiji international made his debut with New Zealand Warriors in 2020 against Newcastle Knights, and made a further four appearances in the competition before making the switch to England with Leeds.

He was signed by then-coach Richard Agar to replace Ava Seumanufagai on a one-year deal, and made the move to Salford at the expiry of his contract.

Vuniyayawa has enjoyed 41 appearances for the Red Devils to date and is arguably enjoying his career-best form in 2023, having missed just one Super League fixture all season.

He has been a strong force in Paul Rowley’s pack this season, with Salford currently sitting in the last play-off spot over hopefuls Hull KR, Leeds and Huddersfield.

“I’m always trying to improve and there’s always ups and downs in performances,” he told Love Rugby League.

“But you can’t let that get to your head and you have to just focus on what you can control and what I can do better next week for the team.

“That’s what I’ve been doing. I want to take the right steps towards my performances and hopefully I can still do better and help the team out.”

King Vuniyayawa reveals NRL ambitions 

Vuniyayawa played in all four games for Fiji at last year’s delayed World Cup in England, featuring against the world’s best in Australia during the group stages and New Zealand in the last eight.

That experience has given the prop forward motivation to return to the competition Down Under in the near future, with his current contract entering its final few months.

However, at the age of 28 time is ticking for the Lautoka-born forward, while Salford are reportedly keen to offer an extended deal.

“I would love to go back and have a dig in the NRL. We’ll see what happens,” Vuniyayawa said.

“I’ve played about five games, but that would be good.

“I’m open to all kind of discussions and we’ll see what the future holds for me.

“I just want to have a good hit out and say to myself in a few years that I had a dig and put in some performances [in the NRL].”

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