After a poor last few seasons, Sharks second-rower Anthony Tupou is a man on the mission, as he aims to play Origin once more, after picking up his form and shedding some kilos, as he looks to impress selectors.
It was the Sharks shock win against the Dragons last Monday night in which Tupou really made his presence felt, and it is that sort of form that he will be looking to continue as the seasons wears on.
It was during his time at the Roosters that Tupou really excelled, and thus, he was rewarded with an Origin berth. Since then however, not all has been rosy, and Tupou’s career has gone on a slide, as he now looks to pick up the pieces, and play the way that he knows he can.
”That doesn’t really faze me, copping stick,” Tupou said.
”What hurts is not having those [representative] jerseys, not making the team. That hurts a lot more than what people say. That motivates me a lot. That is one of my goals â€¦ to play good â€¦ maybe I can get back into rep footy.”
When speaking of fellow second-rowers Jeremy Smith and Paul Gallen, Tupou is over the moon to have them playing alongside him, and looks to continue their strong forward dominance in the future.
”It’s so good to have them in your team,” Tupou said of Gallen and Smith.
”They’re so reliable and they’re always there. When it’s hard you see them put their hand up and go for a run or smash someone in defence. It lifts you a bit. We have been talked up a bit – our back row – we’ve got to live up to it and can’t let anyone down.
”I worked hard with the trainers and I’ve put on a lot of weight, probably seven kilograms. That was my goal from the start of the year to do that, put on weight and play a bit heavier.”
For Tupou, he has been through some moments at Shark Park that he would rather forget, but the euphoria that was created in their win over the Dragons removed any bad moments.
”It’s bad, mate. When you’re losing week to week, it affects a lot of things,” he said.
”You try and not let it but it affects different parts of your life. To get a winning culture would be good this year. I think we’ll get a lot of belief out of that.”