The Titans have received a major boost with teenage tearaway Moeaki Fotuaika declaring himself on track to be fit and firing for round one despite being three months away from full contact sessions.
The 2019 Paul Broughton Medal winner had off-season surgery on his wrist and knee and will work his way back to full fitness through the rehab squad.
With the wooden-spooners drawing six of last season’s top eight in their opening six rounds of 2020. they need all hands on deck and Fotuaika said he was confident he would be available for the trip to Canberra on March 13.
“I had surgery on a meniscus tear in my left knee and surgery on my right wrist in the off-season,” Fotuaika said.
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“The staff are saying I should be doing straight running by the first week in December and full contact by mid-February.
“I am on track with my rehab I am confident of being available for round one. We came back to training last Monday and I was still 110 kilos. I haven’t been able to do much [training] but I want to take care of myself so I get the best out of my body.”
At just 19, Fotuaika was the shining light in a difficult year for the Titans, averaging 133 metres per game, including 50 post-contact metres every match.
As well as playing with great skill and power he also showed his toughness by defying those injuries to stay on the paddock at the back end of the season.
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Titans head of performance Dan Ferris is also backing Fotuaika to not miss any early-season NRL action due largely to his outstanding attitude and application at a young age.
"With our performance team and Moe’s dedication around his work ethic I’m confident he will be fit and ready to go,” Ferris said.
"Mo has a relentless attitude to how he trains and plays. He is all in with everything he does.
“He understood quite early the dedication and commitment it would take to succeed in the NRL - the dedication at training, working with our coaching staff and being a good teammate - all these areas Moe’s stands out in.
"He holds all of our absolute records in the gym for physical strength, but a strong attribute that Moe has is the ability to transfer it to the field."
Fotuaika missed Tonga’s end-of-season Tests due to injury but did spend time in camp with one of his idols Jason Taumalolo in 2018.
It is the consistency of Taumalolo that the young Titan wants to emulate as he targets backing up his stellar 2019 season.
"My main focus now is to back that up and to keep improving so that I can stay consistent next year," Fotuaika said.
"I don’t want to have a good season and then have a bad year. When you look at all the great players like Tedesco and Taumalolo they have tremendous seasons every year. Jason has done that for the Cowboys and the Tongan team and I can learn a lot from him.
"We have got the players at the Titans to win games but for some reason it didn’t happen this year. With our new coach Justin Holbrook and the new staff it will really help us in the new season.”