Tautau Moga is sporting a few stitches on his beak.
“As you can tell by my face, it’s been pretty tough,” Moga joked of training.
“Hymel tried to kiss me and split me.”
Mitchell Pearce also has stitches but his are on the side of his lips.
It paints a telling picture that the nib Newcastle Knights are working hard this pre-season.
Moga, who has had a horror run with injury in recent years, knows the importance of hard work.
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Having missed out on a full training block last year due to an ACL injury, the centre is making the most of this period.
It’s a smart move from the former Queensland Origin emerging player as competition in the backline is at an all-time high.
“Star and Braddy, they push you,” he said.
“It’s really good and healthy for the team. They challenge myself.”
Competing with the likes of Bradman Best, Starford To’a, Hymel Hunt and new recruits Gehamat Shibasaki and Enari Tuala, Moga isn’t guaranteed Round 1 selection.
That’s why “training hard” and working on his fitness is his top priority.
Taking a fresh start mentality into 2020, Moga said he has a point to prove with a new coach at the helm.
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Having missed the start of the 2019 season due to injury, Moga worked his way back into the first-grade side and played the final six games.
Now, his goal is to start in 2020.
“I had a taste of first grade last year,” he said.
“That was my goal to get back into it. My next goal is now to start and hopefully stay there the whole season.”