Titans powerhouse Moeaki Fotuaika has set himself the challenge of improving with every game he plays after locking in his long-term future with the Gold Coast this week.
The Titans fan favourite, who has been a benchmark of consistency this year despite playing in the toughest position on the field – while injured – at only 19 years of age, will be a foundation stone for the club’s future after extending his stay with the Titans until the end of 2022.
While Titans fans have not had much to celebrate as far as on-field victories this season, the retention of “Big Moe” was greeted by delight among supporters who see the former Palm Beach Currumbin star as a key part of the Gold Coast club’s DNA.
After breaking through for his NRL debut last season, Fotuaika has been a mainstay of the Titans’ line-up this season – playing 20 games, and averaging more than 135m per game with a tackle efficiency rating of over 90 per cent.
Built like a Sherman tank, Fotuaika’s consistency, work-rate and work ethic already make him a team leader despite his relative youth.
But Fotuaika himself says his personal challenge is not just competing in the NRL, but to keep improving and producing his best performances every week.
“I have been pretty happy with how I have been going,” Fotuaika said. “I am lucky that I have had a few opportunities through the year to show what I am capable of. That is a credit to the coaches.
“Even though I was still young, they had faith in me and gave me the opportunities to play in the NRL.
“I have just tried to take the chances with both hands and prove to myself that I can mix it with the big boys. It is great to be able to play some good footy.
“Consistency is the main thing for myself. I want to keep playing consistent footy.
“At times you can get complacent if you play a good game and clock off in your next game. The main thing for me is to get better every game. I want to do that for the next few years.”
Fotuaika said having his future settled and being able to play in the NRL with the club he loves was a tremendous feeling.
“Big time. It is great to be here for an extra few years,” he said. “It gives me a bit of extra confidence and allows me to just focus on my footy, having my future settled.
“I feel like this club is really heading in the right direction and I want to be a part of it.
“I played with a few of the boys here in the local area. It will be good to play with them, and other guys coming through the Titans system, over the next few years.
“Hopefully we can do some good things and take this club in the right direction.”
On behalf of Titans fans, we also asked whether Fotuaika might be able to use his powerful physique to put his fellow local juniors Jai Arrow and AJ Brimson in head-locks until they followed his lead and signed extended contracts to stay on the Gold Coast.
“Oh yeah. I will get them,” he said with a laugh. “Nah. Hopefully they will stay and be a part of what we are building here. But they are great guys. Whatever they do I will be happy for them.”