Stunning rap for teen Titan: ‘The best I’ve ever seen’
HE has been dubbed the "king of the ring" putting seasoned NRL players to shame and such is the excitement surrounding 18-year-old prop Moeaki Fotuaika that Titans teammates are predicting a first grade debut in 2018.
Fotuaika played 22 games as a 17-year-old in the Holden Cup this season and was so impressive he would have earned an NRL call-up in an injury-ravaged Titans team late in the season had age restrictions not stood in his way.
Any thoughts that such an elevation to the top grade may have been premature have been put to bed in the first month of pre-season training with representative stars such as Nathan Peats and Ryan James gobsmacked by his physical capabilities at such a young age.
The explosive front-rower is proving hard to handle at training with his mix of speed and strength on a stocky frame and on Wednesday elicited squeals of delight with a skilfully executed kick during an intense training drill.
The younger brother of Mosese Fotuaika who tragically passed while contracted to the Wests Tigers, Moeaki shared the Titans' NYC Player of the Year award with AJ Brimson and represented the Queensland under-18s earlier this year but is headed for much higher honours in the very near future.
"He just turned 18 in the second or third week of pre-season and he's probably been the standout trainer," said Peats, who played all three Origins for New South Wales this year and boasts 119 NRL games over seven seasons.
"He's been ripping in and is the king of the ring.
"He's the king of the wrestle, he's been winning all the wrestling and running really well.
"For a kid who has just turned 18 I think he's one of the best young prospects I've ever seen and I've been playing for a couple of years now."
Even big forwards who have been unable to get the better of Fotuaika in training drills coach Garth Brennan refers to as 'tackle technique' can't help but be impressed by the physical presence of the Keebra Park product.
"Moeaki is going to be a great player," Ryan James told foxsports.com.au.
"He only just turned 18 in week two of pre-season and he's going to be a great signing if he stays on at the club.
"There's definitely some good young potential in there."
It seems absurd to even suggest that an 18-year-old middle forward could possibly compete physically in the NRL but Peats has absolutely no doubt that Fotuaika could handle the rigours of first grade if given the opportunity.
"No way. I reckon he'd be ready to go," Peats said when asked if Fotuaika was too young for first grade in 2018.
"I was playing SG Ball at that age and if I was to do a pre-season with first grade there's no way in the world I'd have been physically strong enough or mentally (strong enough).
"He's just ripping in and doesn't care.
"He's a real quiet kid and doesn't say anything but he's very humble and listens and works really hard.
"I have a lot of time for him. He's going to be a really good player."