Saifiti's switch from back row to front
While Jacob Saifiti started his NRL career as a hard-hitting back rower, he has moved up front alongside twin brother Daniel.
With several more kilograms added to his already imposing frame, Jacob says he has adapted to the challenges of playing in the middle on a weekly basis in the NRL.
“I am a bit heavier now and I feel like I’m more comfortable in the middle to match it with the big boys," he explained on Tuesday.
“I played edge last year but I have been in the middle my whole life.
"It did take a while to get used to it again though, mainly the weight because I was a bit light last year compared to Daniel."
And while Saifiti says he can still play in the back row if injury strikes, he sees himself spending the vast majority of his time up front.
"I don't think I'll be needed there, we've got some quality back rowers at the Club," he explained.
"Having said that, if injuries strike in the middle of a game I'll happily put my hand up."
Saifiti also says there are big differences between playing as a prop and being based further out from the ruck.
“It's harder but it’s easier playing at prop... there's not as much thinking but when I come off the field now I’m a lot more bruised and battered than I was last year," he said.
“I am getting stronger and fitter, size wise I’m alright but just mentally that is the biggest part I need to improve on, just believing in myself and my ability.”
Saifiti is his own worst critic when it comes to his game but whilst the youngster has admitted having a bit of an inconsistent season, he also acknowledged self-improvement.
“I started off the year well, then I got dropped back to Reserve Grade for a couple of weeks and it was a bit of a wake-up call," he said.
“Since I’ve been back in first grade, I have been trying to make sure that doesn’t happen again so I’m not going to let this opportunity slide."
The 21-year-old went a long way to doing that last week.
Despite a four-point loss to the Manly Sea Eagles, the young forward pulled off 146 metres in just 41 minutes on the field, his biggest effort so far this season.
“I didn’t feel like I ran that many metres on the weekend but afterwards Daniel (Saifiti) told me my stats and I was surprised,” Saifiti said.
“I thought they might have got Daniel’s stats mixed up with mine but it’s good if it is going to help the team and get us closer to that win.”
Saifiti also said he sees the bye as bittersweet.
“It was a pretty solid performance so I think it would have been good to use that momentum this week... but at the same time I think there’s a few bruised and battered bodies from the weekend and the week off will help that," he added.
The youngster believes the long preparation will be a bonus for their Round 16 encounter with St George Illawarra, especially against their key forwards.
“Paul Vaughan and (Russell) Packer, I love watching them play and they have been really good this year,” Saifiti stated.
“It is a challenge for us in the middle which I’m looking forward to.
“The platform the forwards lay is the reason why they are winning games this year as well as off the back of their defence, they’re pretty good all around the park.”