When Broncos teenager David Fifita chills out and watches footy it is the toughness and his physicality of Rabbitohs forward leader Sam Burgess that he studies and strives to emulate.
Fifita said this week he had been modelling his game on Burgess and Cowboys wrecking ball Jason Taumalolo since he was a schoolboy.
"I try and watch my idols play. Sam Burgess is one, and Taumalolo. They are big boys and when I was a little kid watching them play on the couch I tried to model my game on theirs. Every time their teams play I go to those two," Fifita said.
When Fifita was asked what he most admires about Burgess he said "just his toughness and his physicality".
Fifita's Keebra Park High School coach Glen Campbell recalled the England star being the one that his young protege used to rave about.
"Dave spoke to me about Sam Burgess time and time again and I said it is wise if you can model your game on those sort of guys that are succeeding at a high level. It means everything every time Burgess runs, and Dave has always had that in his game," Campbell told NRL.com.
"At Keebra Park High he knew when it was time to stand up and take control of a football game. He has always looked up to Burgess.
"Burgess has that similar turn of pace. He has a similar build to Burgess, although not as tall. Burgess doesn’t take a backward step, like Dave, and is hard to handle himself."
Burgess has a knack of steaming into defensive lines and emerging out the other side through sheer strength and will.
Fifita has scored some rampaging tries of his own this year, none better than his 30-mtre effort against the Warriors in the recent 18-18 draw where he wrangled his way past five staggered defenders to score.
For Campbell that determination and strength brought back memories of a try he created out of nothing as a youth when the defensive line was set and had Fifita in its sights.
"All I know is that when the going got tough David Fifita always stood up and the one that really sticks out in my mind was the state championships when he was trying to make the Queensland side and he was playing for South Coast against Met West," Campbell recalled.
"Met West had their tails up and a lot of pressure on South Coast. From a 20-metre restart Dave said 'give me the ball here'. They had a big pack and they were ready for him. He took the ball off the halfback, went straight into the teeth of the pack, came out the other side and put the fullback under the posts.
"It turned the whole game and was something remarkable. Everyone said 'wow, did you see that?'. They weren’t scared of him but he went straight through them like they were not there."
Match: Titans v Broncos
Round 19 -
Venue: Cbus Super Stadium, Gold Coast
- LIVE PASS
Fifita intends to do more of the same against the Titans on Saturday night and bring his best game to the table each week after a gruelling Origin series with the Maroons.
"The Titans are going to come at us really hard. We have got in the back of our head that they touched us up really bad up here [at Suncorp Stadium] so we’ll be looking to turn the tables," Fifita said.
"I learned heaps out of Origin camp. The tough thing was backing up the week after and I took a lot out of that.
"Seibs [Anthony Seibold] and the staff here want me to just run the ball hard and do my job, and build that combination with Darbs [Darius Boyd] on the left edge.
“We have got a young group but that is no excuse. Every game is important for us from here in."
Seibold has played Fifita off the bench at times and given him limited minutes on occasions as part of his management plan, but last week he played a full 80 in the back row where he ran for 133 metres and made 26 tackles, with none missed, in a performance worthy of his idol Burgess.
"That is how you progress young blokes in the NRL. You don’t throw them to the wolves otherwise they get lost. You keep them hungry," Campbell said.
"David was averaging about 20-odd minutes a game there for a while and was tonguing for more from what I hear on the grapevine through his mates. That’s good. You want them to be out there wanting more.
"He is settling in really well and Seibold obviously has a good plan for him which seems to be working well."