He's regularly known as 'Flying Phil', but this pre-season, he's 'Shredded Sami'.
Titans winger Phil Sami has dropped seven kilograms over the Christmas break to help him get back to his best and after being rewarded for his hard-work with a Round 1 jersey by Justin Holbrook, the flyer doesn't want to let his coach down against the Eels.
"I’m pretty proud of how far I’ve come with that, but I still have to play good footy, so the hard work isn’t done yet," Sami said.
"I think I was carrying a bit too much weight last year, weighing around 100 kilograms, but I dropped back some weight and am feeling good again.
"I feel fit and fast, so I can’t wait to show that on Sunday and prove that I deserve that spot.
"It’s always good to be named in the starting 17 for Round 1. The whole goal in the pre-season as an individual is to make that top 17 and obviously, I wanted to work really hard in the pre-season.
"Justin has shown his faith in me to start in Round 1 and I need to repay him and the boys back and play consistent footy."
Making his Origin debut for Queensland in 2020 before injury and fitness troubled the 24-year-old last season, his goal is to wear the Maroon again, although wants to focus on playing consistent, high-quality footy for the Titans first.
"One hundred percent I want to put that jersey on again, but I need to put my focus on the club first and I don’t want to be looking too far ahead of myself," Sami said.
"I’ve got a long way to go to get back there and it starts with just playing consistent footy for the club and doing my best here.
"I just need to control what I can control and that is preparing the best I can each game and that will give me the best chance to play the best I can.
"If I can do that, the future will take of itself I guess."
Match: Eels v Titans
Round 1 -
Venue: CommBank Stadium, Sydney
That begins with the tough task of defeating Parramatta in Sydney, who have been touted as one of the team's to beat after the pre-season trials. The 73-game outside back knows the team will be challenged, but has plenty of faith the Titans can match it with the Eels after a big pre-season.
"We’re looking forward to it and we know it’s going to be tough. They start fast as a club and they run hard and tackle hard," Sami said.
"We don’t want to go there and get punched in the face. We want to match that energy or even be better.
"We’re all looking forward to it and showcase what we’ve done this pre-season and we can't wait."
Be there at Cbus Super Stadium on Saturday, March 19 for the Gold Coast Titans' first home game of the year. A double header with the NRL and NRLW Titans in action. $20 from every ticket goes directly to the club's flood recovery initiative.