ASIATA SILENT BUT DEADLY
SOFTLY spoken Cowboys lock John Asiata has let his playing do the talking.
The 22- year- old will come up against his junior club Parramatta tonight off the back of two of the best performances of his 20- game first grade career.
Asiata ran for 133m from 13 runs against Manly in the Round 19 closer, chipping in with 18 tackles in his 46 minutes on the field.
It came after stepping up against the Dragons in Round 17 when the Cowboys were missing four State of Origin stars, when he ran for 116m, made 26 tackles and a tackle bust while also throwing an offload.
The Cowboys rookie of the year award winner has grown in 2015, showing he has the running and defensive game to complement his silky passing skills.
“Johnny was very strong ( against Manly) and his attacking game, he is probably one of our better forwards and he’s got a really good set of hands on him,” Cowboys assistant coach Dave Furner said.
“One of the areas Johnny has been focusing on is his defence and I thought that if you look at that part of his game I thought it was one of his better defensive performances.”
Teammate Michael Morgan said jokingly Asiata “deep down” wants to be a five- eighth, the position where he played his Harold Matthews Cup days for the Eels as a teenager, but was proving a more all- round forward talent for the Cowboys.
“He’s going really well and it’s good to see he’s developed,” Morgan said.
“He came through the under- 20s system with ‘ Greenie’ at the Roosters and got his chance last year.
“When we need him to go forward he can do it and make metres for us and when we need to shift the ball then he’s able to do that.
“I think that’s one thing that he’s improved on, he knows when to run and when to pass.
“His decisions have been a lot better and he’s more consistent with it.’’
Asiata is also a bit of a good- luck charm, with his 20 games of first grade for the Cowboys having resulted in 17 wins.
Cowboys forward John Asiata is 22.