Warriors' prop Leeson Ah Mau is the ultimate humble hero.

Ah Mau will play his 200th NRL game against the Roosters on Sunday, but had no idea about the impending milestone until his wife told him last week.

While other players track statistics and collect records, Ah Mau is an old-fashioned player, with an ethos rooted in the 1970s or 1980s.

He's comfortable avoiding the spotlight and has a strong team-first focus.


"I didn't really know," said Ah Mau of his looming double century. "I got told by my wife on the weekend. After the Manly game, we went out in the morning and took the kids to the park and she dropped it in there. I was pretty surprised."

It sums up Ah Mau, whose league dream as a kid growing up in South Auckland was a lot more modest.

"It was to play one NRL game, if I am being honest," said Ah Mau. "It makes me really grateful for everything that my parents have done and all the sacrifices they have made. And my brother, I looked up to him, he was my idol and still is."

Ah Mau's brother, Isaak — seven years his senior — was crucial to his development.

"He played a big role, some really brutal training sessions," said Ah Mau. "We used to go to Mangere mountain to train there and he taught me from a young age that hard work was the way to go."

Those sessions started when Ah Mau was just 11 years old.

"When I look back now those times are pretty funny," said Ah Mau. "When you are that age you want to be out with your friends, there were a few sacrifices. I was in form one, form two.

"At that age all you want to do is just sleep in; I loved to 'lax' around and watch TV. [Even later,] all those good times in those teenage years, [my friends] were experiencing parties and I was on the field, holding the rugby ball."


The hard work paid off and Ah Mau has carved out a successful career, as an effective and often underrated prop.

He's averaging 111 running metres this year and has also contributed 577 tackles (almost 29 per game) with only 10 misses.

Ah Mau, who is one of only two Warriors' ever-presents this season alongside Peta Hiku, is also disciplined.

Despite being in the engine room he's only given away three penalties, compared with teammates Adam Blair (22), Isaiah Papali'i (14) and Jazz Tevaga (13).

"He is a bit of a silent assassin," said Warriors coach Stephen Kearney. "He goes about his role with minimal fuss, executes things really well, and he's efficient. He doesn't waste energy on rubbish, from a game sense and a life sense. In his way he has a real calmness about him and he's a leader in his own right."

Ah Mau pinpoints three career highlights so far. His NRL debut, in round three of the 2009 season, later playing alongside his brother for the Cowboys (in 2010 and 2011) and the qualifying final last year, when his Dragons' team defied massive odds to beat the Broncos at Suncorp Stadium.

On Sunday, as the Warriors aim to keep their faint finals hope alive, Ah Mau takes on the daunting Roosters pack, which includes Kiwis teammates Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, Zane Tetevano and Isaac Liu.

"It's exciting," said Ah Mau. "Those are the challenges you look forward to. For our forward pack as a whole, we have got a big task ahead, if we are doing our job."