Stop Suli! Gagai prepped for Manly giant
Officially, Dane Gagai is giving up 19kg against rising Manly powerhouse Moses Suli.
"I don't know how much Moses really weighs," the Rabbitohs centre laughed this week.
"But he's a big lad. Can really move, too."
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Bunnies fullback Adam Doueihi agrees.
Indeed, while all the recent headlines around this Sea Eagles wrecking ball have spruiked weight loss, his old teammate from Balmain SG Ball reckons the real story is how Suli has likely never played heavier.
"It looks like Moses has put on weight this year," Doueihi insisted of the rival listed at 112kg.
"He just looks so big out there. But he's moving good.
"Against Cronulla, that was one of his best performances all year. He really is a special talent."
So how the hell does South Sydney stop him?
After missing the NRL finals opener with a hamstring injury, Gagai returns to the Bunnies
backline on Friday night for what is quickly becoming one of rugby league's toughest new assignments - stopping Suli.
And at 93kg, it's no easy task.
Especially when you consider the carnage this rising Manly centre, who returned for pre-season training at a whopping 124kg, caused in last weekend's finals upset against Cronulla.
Outstanding at Brookvale Oval, the 21-year-old charged for a staggering 190m - the most of any player on the field - while also making four tackle busts, three linebreaks and scoring a try.
Indeed, when Gagai looks at Suli, he sees exactly the type of footballer who back in 2017, was signed by Wests Tigers for $1.3 million.
In fact, the Queensland Origin incumbent believes his ANZ Stadium rival now boasts both a similar build and NRL trajectory to that of enigmatic Canberra superstar Joey Leilua.
"Moses Suli reminds me a lot of BJ," Gagai explains.
"A guy with a big frame who has also got great feet, great speed.
"And yeah I've heard the stories (about Suli's background).
"I had a similar situation myself where I was struggling at Brisbane and Wayne (Bennett) got both myself and BJ Leilua to the Knights.
"We were the centres and it really turned around for us.
"Look at Joey Leilua now, he's one of the best centres in the game. And I don't see things being any different for Moses.
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"But I've got a job to do against him this weekend."
And as for how that gets done?
"You can't let him wind up," insists Doueihi, who played Balmain SG Ball alongisde his heavier mate.
"You have to try and get in his face as quick as possible, limit his threats.
"Moses has been forming a good combination with Daly Cherry-Evans so if you pressure Daly early, that's a way you can try and stop him."
Better, marking Suli isn't exactly a first for this fella boasting 13 Origins, eight Test caps and four appearances in the annual All Stars clash.
"I've had the privilege of coming up against some great centres," Gagai said.
"I remember coming up, when I moved to Newcastle marking up against Steve Matai.
"I was only a young kid back then but Willie Mason and all the boys got around me.
"And this Friday night I'll be doing everything I can to turn up for our team."