Leeds coach Rohan Smith believes there’s more to come from winger David Fusitu’a following a rollercoaster start to his Super League career.
Fusitu’a, 28, was limited to just 14 appearances in his first year in England due to injuries.
The Tonga international sustained both knee and ankle injuries during 2022, having made the move from the New Zealand Warriors.
Coach Smith, 41, has predicted a stronger 2023 season for his star winger, who has also won two caps for New Zealand on the international stage.
Fusitu’a will once again wear shirt number two in 2023, and returns to Leeds’ pre-season following time back home with family. However, he has not been named to feature in their Boxing Day clash against Wakefield at Headingley Stadium.
Smith predicts bright 2023 season for David Fusitu’a
“He’s in really good shape,” Smith told Love Rugby League. “He had an extended period home in New Zealand which was needed for him and his family.
“He’s in good condition and we’re building him up to have a good season. I thought on the back of a disrupted pre-season last year that led to some early season injuries, which it often does, I thought he actually performed really well for a good chunk of that middle to back-end of season.
“It didn’t end the way we all hoped for him. But I thought he made a good contribution and he’s now settled here.
“That’s the other thing that people don’t probably factor in a lot. It’s a long way from New Zealand and Australia for people to come over. Sometimes it takes a period of time to settle and make it feel like home and I think Fusitu’a is in that good place now where he’s ready to kick on.”