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Extreme Moe-tivation: Fotuaika returns early to bounce back

Moe Fotuaika has wasted no time in bouncing back from a tough 2022 season.

Only due back to Titans HQ this week after an impressive World Cup campaign with Tonga, the Mate Ma'a star made a desired early appearance to Parkwood to get the jump on the gruelling pre-season his Gold Coast teammates have been subjected to, returning a week earlier than required in an effort to get back to his destructive best.

"I had two weeks off when I got back and also had a week off after the World Cup in the UK and just thought three weeks was enough for me," Fotuaika said.

"I'm the sort of person that needs to be in a routine. I was around locally and I just thought I'd come in and have two weeks before the Christmas break so when I do get back in the new year, I've got the k's in the legs and am ready to go."

Fotuaika celebrates scoring a try for Tonga at the World Cup. Photo: Getty Images
Fotuaika celebrates scoring a try for Tonga at the World Cup. Photo: Getty Images

Conceding his most recent season wasn't his best, the fire has been well and truly lit in the front rower's belly to start every game of 2023, but is under no illusions it'll be a walk in the park given the immense competition for spots across the Titans roster.

"My main focus at the moment is to hopefully start every game, but I do recognise that there is a lot of competition there," Fotuaika said.

"It's great for everyone in the forward pack. It's healthy competition, especially for myself because I wasn't too happy with my year this year; although, I did manage to finish the season well.

"It's given me extra motivation for next year to come in and hopefully play well throughout the trials and go from there."

'We're working extra hard': Fotuaika

At the ripe old age of 23 and notching up 100 NRL games under his belt, Fotuaika is now one of the more senior members within the Titans engine room - particularly with the number of exciting young forwards being added to the mix.

Whilst the centurion is still processing that fact, he has enjoyed being a mentor for the up-and-comers rising through the ranks, given he was in that same scenario when he was a young Titan only a couple of years ago.

"It's a bit weird now considering I've always come in and not been one of the oldest, but it's a good challenge for myself as well as all the other forwards my age too," he said.

"We've got a lot of young forwards coming up through the grades and we have to show them around and lead the boys around as well.

"But we've got Tino there who's the head of it (forward pack), and he's doing a great job for us, so I'll just help out whenever I can."

Fotuaika sweating it out during his first week back. Photo: Gold Coast Titans
Fotuaika sweating it out during his first week back. Photo: Gold Coast Titans

Two of the club's pathways products have really impressed the International forward in his first week back, including train-and-trialist Seth Nikotemo and young forward Josiah Pahulu.

"We've got a lot of great talent coming through with the younger boys, but probably Seth has really impressed me," Fotuaika said.

"He's a lock and he's been really good. He's just got that build and he's definitely fit and strong and does look like he can ball-play as well too, so it'll be really interesting to see what he can do in the future.

"Josiah has been great as well. He's currently injured at the moment, but I've heard that he's really been training hard before that in the pre-season.

"It's good to see that we've got a lot of young boys coming up and it'll be definitely keeping us older boys on our toes."

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