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13 hours ago
Looks can be deceptive for New Zealand Warriors prop Jerry Seuseu.
Though his face carries reminders of many a scrap in the National Rugby League, since his debut in 1997, all thebattering in the game's toughest position has not dimmed his intellect.
Seuseu has a Bachelor of Arts degree, is in the last year of a Bachelor of Education, and this year has started a law degree.
It makes a lie of the assertion that you have to be a bit thick to survive as a prop with your primary functions to lead the hit-ups, trying to suck in as many as three tacklers in the process, and make those crunching front-on tackles.
It is all graft and being reluctant to take a backward step. Only the more determined can hack it.
Seuseu revels in it, welcoming the weekly gladitorial confrontations despite the hammerings his 1.88m, 108kg body is subjected to.
"I love the physical contest, trying to get the better of the opposition," Seuseu said.
"You go out there every week looking to maintain high standards, and in the last year or so we've been able to do it."
The Samoan is among a number of Warriors looking to their futures with part-time study. He has found the club "very supportive" even to the extent of allowing him to attend lectures by arriving late for training sometimes.
He and wife Kim have a young family with Mireya (four), Lazaro (three) and Carlos (one). It is even more admirable that Seuseu can fit in study and the time required to maintain his strong Christian beliefs.
"I find study a good release, it provides a balance to all the training," Seuseu said.
"It can be a bit intense. Study means I don't get stale."
He had visions of becoming a teacher but will look more closely at his options once his law studies are complete.
At 29, he is the oldest in the squad and he is happy to answer to the good natured taunts of "old man" from his teammates.
Seuseu says he is probably at his peak and he has another year on his contract at the Warriors.
He would like to think he can play in the NRL for another two or three seasons and after touring England with the Kiwis last year, would be happy to join a club there.
Seuseu expects the Warriors to shrug off their recent indifferent form in Friday night's game against the Canterbury Bulldogs in Wellington.
"We talked about not doing it but we've gone off the boil a bit lately against some of the sides," he said.
"There's so much more fire in the belly when you're up against the likes of the Bulldogs or the Broncos."