Salford’s King Vuniyayawa on remarkable early return from injury & goals for 2023

Josh McAllister
King Vuniyayawa Salford Red Devils SWpix

King Vuniyayawa in action for Salford | Photo: Will Palmer/SWpix

Salford’s King Vuniyayawa has discussed his remarkable return from injury in 2022 while the Fiji international lays down his goals for the upcoming campaign. 

Vuniyayawa, 27, had been ruled out of the rest of the 2022 season by head coach Paul Rowley in May before the forward made a stunning return for their run into the play-offs.

The former Leeds man had impressed early on at the AJ Bell Stadium in his debut year at the club.

However, he was set to watch the rest of the season from the sidelines after their victory over Castleford in round 13 before making an early comeback to help his side with their impressive end to the season.

“The surgeon said us Pacific Islanders seem to heal faster,” Vuniyayawa told Love Rugby League.

“I focussed on my rehab pretty well and I managed to get back towards the end of the season and the play-offs. I was grateful to be back.

“Personally, I wanted to be there for the boys too and help them out. I came back around three weeks early and felt good to go.

“The games were relentless and I wanted to help the boys finish the season off. We didn’t finish where we wanted to finish, but we had a good dig.

“When it came to the back end of the season, I don’t think anybody wanted to play us.

“We were definitely the underdogs. We love the term underdogs and we love the media labelling us that. But we know what we’re capable of. We back each other and we’re a tough group.”

King Vuniyayawa on 2023 goals

Having started his career in the NRL with Canterbury, Vuniyayawa has made 30 Super League appearances to date since his switch from Down Under in 2021.

And with a second child on the way this year, he now insists he has extra motivation for a successful season with the Red Devils.

“It’s a pretty small squad but we’re a tight group,” he said. “We’re always looking out for each other and the coaches like to keep us close together and keep training sharp so everyone is on point.

“Pre-season is always tough, but it’s been enjoyable, especially with the boys.

“There’s a few new signings and we’re all working hard. It’s going to be interesting with the new signings and new players. 

“I want to lead by my actions this year. I’ve got a kid on the way soon – my second child.

“It’s going to make playing even more enjoyable. My goals, I want to play the best I can for my team and we want to go one step further than last year. We want to win some silverware.”

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