South Sydney Rabbitohs back Mawene Hiroti revealed his fellow young guns are motivating each other in pre-season - but mixing it with the seniors is pushing him the extra mile.
Hiroti is another young New Zealander looking to make his mark in Red and Green, alongside fellow countrymen Jesse Arthars, Siosifa Talakai and Zane Musgrove.
While he is still eligible to play under 20s for the next two seasons, there is a chance the New Zealand under-18 rep could make the leap to his first grade debut at some point in 2018.
As a part of the crop of NYC players from 2017 to step up to first-grade pre-season training, Hiroti is relishing the opportunity to not only train with his former teammates, but also with some of the biggest names in the game.
“[The youngsters] have got a good bond from last year, building up and training in the pre-season,” said Hiroti. “It’s a good opportunity for us all to train with the older boys and just rip in.
“It’s pretty mind-blowing because GI was pretty much my idol when I was growing up, looking up to him and watching every game he plays.
“The Burgess boys as well, they’re unreal just being around all of them at training every day.
“We’re just trying to get around them every day, learning bit by bit, watching them at training, getting combinations down with them and just digging in.
“I’m hoping to get a first grade debut and go on from there.”
“In the gym he’s a freak and he’s really fit.”Alex Johnston
Fellow outside back Alex Johnston had some big wraps on the youngster, citing his prowess in the gym and on the field, with the New Zealand Under-18 rep blessed with speed and power.
“I really like Mawene. In the gym he’s a freak and he’s really fit, so he puts me through my paces that’s for sure,” Johnston said.