Born: 16 October, 1994 – Auckland
Test record: 2 Tests (2016) – 2 tries (8 points)
Tours: 2016 Four Nations
A spectacular finisher on the wing at NRL level for the Warriors, David Fusitu’a represented the Kiwis during the 2016 Four Nations before switching his international allegiance to Tonga.
The Marist Saints and Kelston Boys’ High School product broke into the Warriors’ NYC team in 2012 and represented Junior Kiwis in 2012-13. Fusitu’a, just 19, one of the 2014 NRL’s season’s standout rookies, crossing for seven tries in 12 games, but injury wrecked his sophomore campaign in the top flight.
The tall, athletic flyer immediately became renowned for his sensational aerial ability and gravity-defying tries, though he was utilised regularly at centre and fullback by the Warriors in 2016. Fusitu’a debuted for Tonga against Samoa at fullback midway through 2016 but headed to England as part of the Kiwis’ Four Nations squad at the end of the year.
He scored two tries from the wing in his first outing for New Zealand – a shock 18-all draw with Scotland – and retained his spot for the final, which Australia won 34-8 at Anfield.
Fusitu’a was one of the Warriors’ best in 2017 with 12 tries in 24 matches and a seemingly certain pick for New Zealand’s World Cup squad, but he opted to represent his parents’ native Tonga instead and played a huge role in the Pacific nation’s watershed charge to the semis. He scored three tries in Mate Ma’a Tonga’s historic upset of the Kiwis in Hamilton and a double in the quarter-final eclipse of Lebanon.
The 2018 season was Fusitu’a’s best in the NRL, winning the Ken Irvine Medal as the competition’s top tryscorer after crossing for a Warriors club-record-equalling 23 four-pointers in as many games. He played a post-season Test for Tonga against Australia in 2018 and in the mid-season clash with New Zealand in 2019, but Fusitu’a battled injuries and form problems that eventually saw his tenure with the Warriors peter out in 2021.
Fusitu’a left the club with the enviable record of 61 tries in 108 NRL matches – but he managed just six in his last 28 outings for the Warriors. He attempted to resurrect his career in the Super League with Leeds Rhinos in 2022 but again struggled to string games together and was not selected in Tonga’s squad for the World Cup at the end of his first season in England.