Leigh Leopards captain John Asiata has been tipped as one of the players of the year so far in Super League by veteran and Hull FC prop forward Scott Taylor.
Taylor, 32, was a guest on the recent episode of the Super League Show on the BBC.
Former NRL forward Asiata has been ever-present under Adrian Lam in the competition in 2023, with 17 appearances to his name, and has played a big part in Leigh’s rise to second on the table.
The 32-year-old loose forward, who helped guide the side to promotion from the Championship upon his move in 2022, has three try assists to his name and leads the way with the most carries with 387, ahead of Marc Sneyd (369) and George Williams (355).
An NRL Grand Final winner with the North Queensland Cowboys, Asiata has struck up a fine combination with team-mates and half-backs Lachlan Lam, Ben Reynolds and Joe Mellor since his arrival in England.
In their first year back in the top flight, the Leopards sit second on the table after 17 rounds of action, claiming 11 wins, which included a nine-game winning streak in all competitions until defeat in Perpignan last week.
The side bounced back with an impressive 34-4 win over Hull KR at the Leigh Sports Village in rainy conditions, with tries from Tom Briscoe, Edwin Ipape, Ed Chamberlain, Josh Charnley, Robbie Mulhern and a penalty four-pointer awarded to Ricky Leutele.
John Asiata praised by Hull’s Scott Taylor
“Leigh have got a lot of experience and a lot of energy, they’re being coached really well,” Taylor said.
“They’re starting the game so fast. They seem to be racing into an early lead against everyone they play.
“Edwin Ipape at the nine is such a threat, the way he’s running with the ball and the way he’s bringing the forwards on.
“John Asiata, I think he’s one of the players of the year so far. Everything comes off him and Lachlan Lam on the back of that, they’re a real threat across the field.”