Bulked-up Moe handles Cowboys’ big three
TITANS young gun Moeaki Fotuaika says he's more confident playing in the NRL now after facing off against arguably the best forward pack in the league.
The 19-year-old front rower was given a baptism by fire on Saturday night when he came face-to-face with the Cowboys "Big Three" in Matt Scott, Jason Taumalolo and Jordan McLean on the Sunshine Coast.
His solid defensive effort was a standout during the Titans 22-16 loss and was further proof the hard-hitting forward is ready to play in the NRL each week.
The 185-centimetre, 107-kilogram rising star is hoping for another chance to prove himself during this weekend's trial match against the Brisbane Broncos at Cbus Stadium on Saturday.
Fotuaika said his focus for the year was now on consistently making the starting squad each week.
"Having the 16 NRL games last year has given me a lot of confidence to come into this year," he said.
"Even with (Saturday night's) game as well, it's given me a lot of confidence going up against those boys (Scott, Taumalolo, McLean). They're definitely a good forward pack and probably one of the best forward packs in the game.
"Last year was just getting my first game of NRL but this year it's just trying to get named in that 17 every week and trying to play consistent footy throughout the year."
The Tongan teenager has been rated highly by coach Garth Brennan who has challenged the young kid to step it up a notch in 2019.
Brennan praised the efforts of his young forward pack after Saturday night's game.
"That was an awesome middle the Cowboys rolled out there," he said.
"It's pretty impressive when they've got (Jordan) McLean, (Matthew) Scott and (Jason) Taumalolo … all marquee, top NRL players out there.
"So I thought our middle three, Max (King) and (Jack) Stockwell and Moe (Moeaki Fotuaika) did a pretty god job at the start."
Fotuaika has bulked up in the off season to improve his destructive running, similar to fellow Tongan, Taumalolo.
"I tried to put on a bit of weight (in the off season)," he said.
"I wanted to put on a few kilos, coming up against boys like that (Taumalolo), I kind of want that weight behind me.
"I kind of had a few groin niggles last year but nothing too serious to keep me out of the game. I'm definitely in good shape this year. Nothing serious lately and hopefully keeps that way."