Iafeta Iakopo Paleaaesina (born 10 February 1983, Auckland, New Zealand), is a rugby league footballer of Samoan heritage, currently playing for Hull F.C. in the First Utility Super League. He plays as a prop.
Educated at Penrose High School (now One Tree Hill College) in Auckland, Iafeta Paleaaesina started playing rugby league at the age of 9 with New Zealand club Otahuhu Leopards.
He made his National Rugby League (NRL) début with the New Zealand Warriors against Northern Eagles in June 2001, and went on to become one of the club's most effective performers. Before his NRL debut, he had previously played for Papatoetoe in the Auckland competition, and Hibiscus Coast Raiders in the Bartercard Cup.
In June 2005 he signed a three-year deal to play for Wigan, starting in 2006. Recently arrived Wigan coach Ian Millward commented: "This is a great signing for us. He will add size and pace to our pack for next year and he is only 22 years of age." Paleaaesina said: "It's a great thrill to be joining Wigan and my good friend Jerry Seu Seu. I had several offers but Wigan is still the biggest name down here and it will be a thrill to play for them."
Paleaaesina played for the Junior Kiwis in 2001, and the Kiwis in 2005.
Iafeta Paleaaesina impressed on his league début for the Wigan Warriors scoring a try in the opening 2006 Super League XI match against Catalans Dragons. Paleaaesina also scored again in Wigan's 36–20 win over the Huddersfield Giants on 24 February 2006.
He was one of the best players for Wigan in the 2006 Super League season despite damaging his calf muscle in a game against the Warrington Wolves. His return from injury was against Huddersfield Giants on 22 April 2006 which Wigan won 46–14. Iafeta Paleaaesina played a key role in Wigan's 2007 squad making a noticeable impact to their performances.
Although his surname is often written with an apostrophe in the middle (between the 2 letter "a"s), this is incorrect. When the player first arrived at Wigan Warriors, he was handed his playing shirt with his name on it, and he returned it, stating that the spelling was incorrect. A new one was produced, minus the apostrophe, which he was happy with.
On 4 October 2007 the RLIF gave permission for Paleaaesina to represent Samoa at the 2008 Rugby League World Cup rather than New Zealand who he had previously represented in international matches. He qualified to play for Samoa due to his Samoan heritage.
In 2014, Iafeta signed to play for Hull F.C. in the Super League.Junior Club: Papatoetoe Panthers
First Grade Debut: Round 15, Warriors v Northern Eagles at Ericsson Stadium, 1 June 2001
Career Stats: 83 career games to date scoring 8 tries