Previously a stalwart for the Toa Samoa cause, ultra-reliable front-rower Leeson Ah Mau received a Kiwis Test call-up in his 10th season of NRL football.
The Papatoetoe, Otahuhu and Tamaki junior represented New Zealand at under-18s level in 2006-07, before playing 40 games for the Warriors’ under-20s team during the first two seasons of the NYC competition. Ah Mau also came off the bench in two NRL games for the Warriors in 2009 as a 19-year-old, but he joined older brother Isaak at North Queensland at the end of the year.
The Cowboys’ 2010 Rookie of the Year, Ah Mau racked up 33 top-grade appearances in two seasons with the Townsville-based outfit.
Ah Mau began a lengthy tenure at St George Illawarra in 2012, ultimately playing 144 NRL games for the joint venture and winning the Dragons’ Player of the Year award in 2016. He also represented Samoa in 16 Tests from 2013-17, including matches against New Zealand at the 2013 and ’17 Rugby League World Cups, and during the 2014 Four Nations.
The underrated Ah Mau debuted for the Kiwis in the 2018 midyear Test against England in Denver. He retained a bench spot for all four post-season clashes with Australia and England, then returned to Auckland to take up a three-year deal with the Warriors.
Ah Mau was one of the Warriors’ most consistent performers in a difficult 2019 campaign for the club. He played all 24 games to take his NRL career tally past the 200 mark, averaged over 100 running metres for the fifth consecutive season and reeled off 28.6 tackles per game at the outstanding tackle efficiency rate of 95.7 percent.
The 29-year-old also solidified his place in the Kiwis set-up, featuring in all four matches of their 2019 schedule against Tonga, Australia and Great Britain. He also turned out for New Zealand at the inaugural World Cup Nines.
Ah Mau started in the front-row in the Kiwis’ Wollongong loss to the Kangaroos and played an impressive role off the bench in the mid-season defeat of Tonga and the 2-0 end-of-year series win over the touring Lions, averaging 78.6 metres and 26.8 tackles across the four Tests.
The veteran played in the Warriors’ opening two games of 2020 before suffering a season-ending pectoral injury. Ah Mau featured in the nomadic club’s first 18 matches of the 2021 campaign but returned to Auckland for family reasons with six rounds remaining, the nine-Test Kiwi ultimately opting to hang up the boots on a 223-game NRL career.