Leigh Leopards star John Asiata speaks out on abuse aimed at his family following tackle fallout

LEIGH LEOPARDS star John Asiata has spoken out on the abuse him and his family have received in the past year.

Asiata hit the headlines during last year’s Challenge Cup semi-final against St Helens when he ended the season of Agnatius Paasi and Alex Walmsley with dangerous tackles.

That led to the RFL changing its framework surrounding tackles below the knee, with Asiata being cited and charged for another incident against Saints in Round Two.

Leigh challenged that grading and were successful, but Asiata has opened up about the abuse his family has received from the fallout.

“It’s not about me, it’s always about my family and what they cop on what I’ve done. I love the game, I play it the hardest as I can, I give everything and have done since I was a young kid,” Asiata said on Sky Sports.

“For me, to be able to play the game I love I understand where people are coming from but attack me and not my family.”

Meanwhile, Asiata is on the sidelines with a calf injury and referenced how long he will likely be out.

“I’m in a really good place at the moment. I hope I will be back in the next couple of weeks and hopefully with no hiccups I should be back soon,” Asiata continued.

“It is tough but when you get injuries to key players it’s hard on the squad but last yaer we didn’t have any injuries until the end.”

In recent weeks, Asiata has been deployed by head coach Adrian Lam to sit next to him and now the captain has revealed his role.

“At the moment I look at our middles and see where they can improve but I’m learning a lot from Lammy.

“We are trying to figure out how to control a game when we lose the ball. How do we go ahead with our next few steps?”

Despite Leigh’s early-season poor form, Asiata is confident the club can lift the Super League Grand Final trophy.

“We are capable of going all the way, it’s early on in the year. For us a group, we have to battle through this and weather the storm.

“We trust everyone that is out there.”

Click here to purchase a digital edition of League Express.

Click here to purchase an online edition of League Express through pocketmags.com.

Click here to listen to our new League Express Podcast.

League Express is widely available from local newsagents across the north of England.