Teenage prop Fotuaika ready for new Titans competition

Titans teenager Moeaki Fotuaika has been a revelation in his 16 NRL games and credits his parents for giving him the belief that he can rumble with "the big boys" in the NRL.

The talented prop was just 18 when given his debut by Garth Brennan in the round nine clash with the Raiders in 2018. He did not miss a game for the rest of the season and stamped himself as the next breed of Tongan rising stars set to take international rugby league by storm.

The question Fotuaika asked himself when Brennan elevated him was "Am I ready?" It was to his father Penitani and mother Lisa, who live in New Zealand, that he turned for assurance and inspiration.

Fotuaika, now 19, talks a lot about repaying faith, working hard and taking challenges head on.

"When Garth gave me a crack at my debut I was definitely shocked and didn't expect to get a shot so early because of my age, but I just wanted to repay the faith that he had put in me," he told NRL.com.

"The main focus for me was to get the confidence in myself to mix it with the big boys in the NRL.

Titans forward Moeaki Fotuaika.
Titans forward Moeaki Fotuaika. ©titans.com.au

"My parents were a big help with that. When I got the call-up to make my debut they told me there was a good reason why I had been selected and that gave me a lot of belief.

"My dad is a hard-working man, a tree lopper back in New Zealand. I'd see him get up in the early hours of the morning and come home late at night. The work ethic he has makes me want to work hard and repay him."

Fotuaika's job to make the 17-man squad for round one next year has got tougher with the addition of former Test forward Shannon Boyd to the Gold Coast squad.

"[Boyd's recruitment] has added motivation to me to try and make the round one team," Fotuaika said.

"I am trying to work on everything, with the ball and without the ball, but the main thing for me is trying to get my fitness up and my body right.

"When my body is 100 per cent I can do what I want on the field."

In the off-season he did extra running on his own and work in the gym to keep his weight down. The teenager is 110 kilos, the same weight he played at during his breakout season.

"If you are not having a good diet you are going to be found out," he said, while adding he had cut out KFC and "all the bad things".

"You've got to learn from your mistakes."

Moeaki Fotuaika launches himself at the Roosters.
Moeaki Fotuaika launches himself at the Roosters. ©Shane Myers/NRL Photos

Fotuaika was an unknown quantity in 2018 but conceded next year would provide the added challenge of backing up and not suffering the dreaded second-year syndrome.

"It is how you face those challenges and whether you take them on or back down," he said.

"[2018] was definitely a season that I can be proud of. I didn't expect to play as many games as I did.

"I just need to keep doing the one-percenters and take things slow. If I take things too quick things will get out of hand."