'Foxx' catcher Sami can get even faster in 2020

It was the footrace that gripped the rugby league nation but the man shaping Phil Sami's physical performance says the Gold Coast Titans flyer has the capability to come back even faster in 2020.

When Melbourne speedster Josh Addo-Carr, widely regarded as the fastest man in rugby league, soared through the air to claim a Tyrone Peachey bomb and set sail for the opposite end 80 seconds from full-time, the scorer started pencilling "The Foxx's" name onto the score-sheet.

Addo-Carr reached a top speed of 33.9 kilometres per hour in his race to the goal-line but the man in pursuit clocked 35.9 km/h, his fastest effort of the year and among the top 10 fastest speeds reached by all players across the entire Telstra Premiership.

Pushed away once, Sami came again and brought Addo-Carr to ground just centimetres from the goal-line, the ball becoming dislodged and the scoreline kept to a 24-8 win for the minor premiers against the wooden spooners.

A flighty figure whose mind can wander in games, Sami has physical gifts that make him a powerful runner of the football and Titans head of performance Dan Ferris is adamant with continued training that Sami will only get faster and stronger.

"Phil weighs 96 kilograms and can squat near double his body weight," Ferris told NRL.com of Sami’s physical prowess.

"He currently holds our vertical jump and horizontal jump test records for power. Phil is also in the top three for the club in our 40-metre speed test behind Anthony Don and AJ Brimson.

"Phil's anthropometric results [the systematic measurement of the physical properties of the human body] are now one of the lowest in the club.

"It's the perfect balance to run fast and keep improving.

"Phil will improve through the off-season from maturation. The areas we have identified he needs to work on are velocity training in the gym, acceleration and flexibility."

Sami's explanation for his super-human effort that has been hailed as the try-saver of the year was less scientific but points to the new ethos that senior coach Craig Hodges has been trying to instil over the past six weeks.

"I just put my head down and ran," Sami said on Tuesday.

"Even if I wasn’t going to get there I just wanted to show the effort of putting in the chase and lucky enough I got the stop.

"I just saw him go up for the ball and saw that he had the length of the field to run so I thought I may as well just chase and see how close I could get to him.

"As I was getting closer I thought, I'm a good chance of getting him here and lucky enough I did."

Titans winger Phillip Sami.
Titans winger Phillip Sami. ©Mark Dadswell/NRL Photos

Not only did Sami clock his fastest speed of the year in his pursuit of Addo-Carr, the entire squad showed the physical progression they have made in recent weeks.

In-house measurement revealed that Gold Coast’s average max speed early in the year was well below that of other NRL clubs, yet on Sunday against the Storm – when they led 8-6 at half-time – they logged a club record for max speed over the past five seasons.

Sami has been asked to improve his off-the-ball efforts and own his role in the team. He believes his chase of Addo-Carr was a step in the right direction.

"These past eight weeks, I know it hasn't shown on the field but we've had a big emphasis on putting in big efforts and not giving up on every play," he said.

"That's something that I'm trying to improve on in my game, just never giving up on the play."