Born: 6 January, 1972 – Auckland
Test record: 24 Tests (2004-09) – 0 points
Tours: 2004 Tri Nations, 2005 Tri Nations, 2006 Tri Nations, 2007 tour of Great Britain and France

Roy Asotasi was an early prototype for the modern front-rower: big, athletic and mobile with a dash of skill. The Marist Saints junior earned his NRL spurs with the Bulldogs and in the space of a few seasons became arguably the game’s premier prop, captaining New Zealand in seven of his 24 Test appearances.

Asotasi won Jersey Flegg premierships with the Bulldogs in 2000-01, skippering the Junior Kiwis in the latter year. After missing the Bulldogs’ Premier League grand final win through injury the following season, he made his NRL debut in 2003. Asotasi played all 28 matches for the Bulldogs in 2004, predominantly off the bench, and picked up a premiership ring in the club’s gripping 16-13 grand final win over the Roosters.

The 22-year-old made his Test debut two weeks later in New Zealand’s 16-all draw with Australia and played two more matches during the Kiwis’ Tri-Nations campaign and a Test against France.

Asotasi’s rapid improvement continued in a disappointing 2005 for the defending champs, playing every match once again, but this time starting in all but two matches to collect the Bulldogs’ Player of the Year award. On the representative scene Asotasi came off the bench in all six of the Kiwis’ Tests in 2005, including their watershed Tri Nations campaign at the end of the year that culminated in a stunning 24-0 victory over Australia at Leeds.

The burgeoning forward pack anchor played in the 2006 Anzac Test and had another sensational season for the Bulldogs in the NRL, establishing himself as a genuine game-breaker and winning the Dally M Prop of the Year award. Asotasi was expected to miss the finals series after suffering a knee injury in Round 24, but returned for the Bulldogs’ gut-wrenching preliminary final loss to the Broncos and underlined his durability by playing all five of the Kiwis’ matches in the end-of-season Tri Nations.

A marquee signing amid South Sydney’s Russell Crowe-influenced recruitment drive for 2007, Asotasi provided value for money to the Rabbitohs by playing in all but one match and taking over the captaincy after an early-season injury to David Kidwell. He was again one of the dominant front-rowers in the premiership and led Souths to their first finals series since 1989 to earn the club’s Player of the Year gong.

Succeeding Ruben Wiki following his rep retirement, Asotasi was one of the few Kiwis whose on-field reputations remained undamaged after a convincing Anzac Test defeat, a record post-season loss to Australia and a disastrous tour to Great Britain and France. However, he later publicly criticised New Zealand coach Gary Kemble – who resigned soon after – which put his role of captain of his country in doubt.

Despite Souths’ atrocious start to the 2008 season – and the NZRL condemning Asotasi’s comments about Kemble – he retained the captaincy for the historic Centenary Test at the SCG, but spent much of the encounter sidelined with concussion. He was selected in the Kiwis’ World Cup squad later that year but missed their Nathan Cayless-led march to glory after picking up a pectoral injury at the tail-end of the NRL campaign.

Asotasi made his last Test appearance for New Zealand in the 2009 Anzac Test (Benji Marshall skippered the side) but remained a regular for Souths, playing in consecutive preliminary finals for the club in 2012-13. He also captained Samoa in an early-season Test against Tonga in 2013.

With 220 NRL games to his name, Asotasi headed to Super League and hung up the boots at the end of 2015 after two seasons with Warrington.

Souths later renamed their Members’ Choice Award in Asotasi’s honour.