Just over 12 months after his NRL career tinkered on collapse because of a domestic violence conviction, Kirisome Auva’a has signed a three-year contract extension with South Sydney.
The Rabbitohs have re-signed the premiership-winning centre to a contract which will keep him at Redfern until the end of 2018.
Auva’a spent the first 22 rounds of the 2015 season on the sideline after serving an NRL domestic violence ban.
The 23-year-old was suspended indefinitely after pleading guilty to two charges relating to an incident with his former partner early last year.
After undergoing counselling and rehabilitation, he returned to the pitch in round 23 against North Queensland and did enough to earn a new deal.
“I’m very grateful for everything South Sydney has done for me over the past two years,” Auva’a said.
“This is the club I want to play for. From giving me a shot at first grade, to supporting me through a difficult period over the past 18 months, this club means the world to me.”
The NRL drew criticism after it failed to immediately ban Auva’a after he pleaded guilty to charges of reckless damage and criminal damage in May last year.
He was given a two-year good behaviour bond and fined $3,000 and magistrate Kate Hawkins described the incident as “devastating”.
He was not suspended until November 2014, a month after he had played in South Sydney’s grand final triumph over Canterbury.
He was allowed to return after satisfying the NRL that he had completed a rehabilitation process which included treatment for alcohol and anger issues.
The club has said that Auva’a has worked hard to rebuild his life, taking part in community and charity work and undertaking leadership courses.
“Somi has grown as a player and we’re looking forward to seeing him perform week in and week out in the 2016 season and beyond,” Rabbitohs coach Michael Maguire said.
“Somi has worked very hard away from the game throughout 2015 to get himself in a position to make a contribution again on-field, and we’re all looking forward to continuing that work with him into the future.”