Playing his fourth season in the NRL, 2018 was far and away John Asiata’s biggest and most productive campaign to date.
The 24-year-old forward was one of just five Cowboys to play in every game of the season.
Having played largely a forward interchange role in his career up to the start of 2017, Asiata had greater responsibility placed on him early in the year when inspirational skipper Matt Scott was ruled out for the season.
The veteran prop sustained a serious knee injury in the team’s epic Round 2 match against great Queensland rival the Brisbane Broncos. As a consequence, Asiata’s playing time increased.
The Sydney junior would spend the year alternating between starting prop and interchange forward, and had a three-game stint in the halves in Rounds 7-9 as the club worked through a glut of injuries at the time.
By the numbers, Asiata was well up on last season for run metres, tackles and try assists, while perhaps his biggest personal milestone was breaking his NRL try-scoring duck in his 76th match in week 2 of the finals against the Eels.
The memorable, game-turning four-pointer came early in the second half with Asiata chasing through a Michael Morgan kick and snatching the ball from an Eels player close to the goal line for the go-ahead score in a match the Cowboys would go on to win 24-16.
Average runs: 10
Average run metres: 83
Average tackles: 19
Try assists: 5
Off-field: He and wife Shailah welcomed their first child, daughter Eleana, into the world.
It's Been a crazy year with many achievements both on and off the field. Becoming a father, resigning with the club and then playing on the big stage in front of thousands of people supporting. I am thankful to our Heavenly Father for the opportunity to experience what I have experienced and thankful for the people that has supported me in my career especially my wife and baby girl Eleana. It's been a great year with these boys and can't wait to see what is waiting for us in 2018. #CowboysFamily #Blessed #eleanasaraiasiata