Experienced front rower Leeson Ah Mau is coming back to where his career started after signing a three-year contract with the Vodafone Warriors from next season.
The 28-year-old Otahuhu Leopards junior, who made his NRL debut with the Vodafone Warriors in 2009, is now in his seventh season with the St George Illawarra Dragons and made his Kiwi debut in the June 23 Test against England at Mile High Stadium in Denver.
He has been among the Dragons’ best in a campaign in which they have topped the NRL table for most of the season.
A 16-Test Toa Samoa international, Ah Mau has made a total of 169 NRL appearances, 134 of them for the Dragons following 33 for North Queensland in 2010 and 2011 and two for the Vodafone Warriors.
“Leeson will be a wonderful addition to our squad from next season,” said Vodafone Warriors head coach Stephen Kearney.
“He’s a big forward who is consistently one of the Dragons’ best week in, week out. He fits the mould of the type of player we’re building our squad around – tough, durable and with a tremendous attitude in all he does on and off the field.
“We’ve always had an interest in him as did a number of clubs, so we’re really excited he was keen to come back home and join the club he started with.”
At 185cm and close to 115kg, Ah Mau provides real size in the middle of the park. In his 15 – all but one off the bench – he has averaged 11 runs and 117 metres including 43 post-contact metres a game (a best of 174 metres in round one) plus 20 tackles (a best of 30) and just four missed tackles all season.
He was a foundation member of the Vodafone Warriors’ NYC side in 2008 going on make his NRL debut in the club’s first-round clash against Parramatta in 2009.
He represented Toa Samoa at both the 2013 and 2017 Rugby League World Cups as well as the 2014 Four Nations.
LEESON AH MAU
Date of Birth: December 20, 1989
Birthplace: Auckland, NZ
Junior Club: Otahuhu Leopards
Rep Honours: 1 Test for Kiwis (2018), 16 Tests for Toa Samoa (2013-2017)
Previous Clubs: Vodafone Warriors (2009), North Queensland (2010-2011)
NRL Debut: Vodafone Warriors v Parramatta, Mount Smart Stadium, March 14, 2009 (Round 1)
NRL Career: 166 appearances (2009-2018):
2 appearances for Vodafone Warriors (2009)
33 appearances for North Queensland (2010-2011)
134 appearances for St George Illawarra (2012-2018)
NRL Points: 22 (5 tries, 1 goal)