JOHN Asiata listened to a higher power as he sacrificed a lucrative NRL career – for God sent him to Leigh.
The Leopards’ skipper was forced out of the game Down Under as he refused to have a Covid-19 vaccine, which club Canterbury Bulldogs made mandatory for players.
Facing uncertainty over what he would do next after his contract was ripped up in December 2021, the call came from the then Championship side.
And after being allowed to play, he rediscovered his love for rugby league while feeling happy he stuck to his religious beliefs.
Asiata said: “Leaving the NRL for a non-rugby league reason was frustrating.
“But when it comes to medical things, you want to make your own decision of what you think is best for your family.
“That’s what I did. My wife and I agreed on what was best for ourselves and our family and I had to face the consequence.
“Not being able to play in the NRL was hard but God always closes doors that need to be closed and opens ones that need to be opened.
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“And he opened the door for me to travel to the UK and play. Sometimes you question whether it’s the right thing but as a man of faith, you just believe – what has happened has happened for a reason.
“You just take it and trust what he’s put in your heart. I reflected with my wife last Monday about the decision we made and God put a challenge forward for us to follow. It’s working wonders.
“Last year, we had a really good team and a good year. That reignited everything about why I play the game and why I love the sport I’ve been playing since I was four or five-years-old.
“And as long as my family’s happy, I know I can play my best – that’s what we’re doing, not just myself but the club in general.”
Asiata and Leigh have done more than adapt to life in Super League, they are thriving and after Magic Weekend they sit fourth in the table.
Now after beating winless Wakefield at St James’ Park, the 30-year-old hopes to achieve his aim, making the play-offs.
The 30-year-old added: “I’ve always said from the get go that top six is the aim. We’re still working on a few things too.
“I set a lot of goals after arriving and ticked a few off last season.
“There are more to achieve, though, and I’m confident that if we’re on, we’ll be able to tick some of those off.”