Steak fuelling Taniela Paseka's Manly rise
Taniela Paseka credits his new diet as the reason for him staking a claim to become Manly's forward leader.
The 25-year-old prop is leading the Sea Eagles' go-forward with career-best running metres of 129m per game this NRL season ahead of Sunday's trip to face the in-form Canberra Raiders.
With Marty Taupau departed in the off-season and Josh Aloiai sidelined, Paseka realises the task of carrying Manly forward now rests squarely on his shoulders.
It's a job the 197cm, 120kg prop feels ready to take on, with a new meal plan helping fuel his rise to prominence.
"I've really focused on my diet. I'm eating steak for dinner every night," Paseka told AAP.
"At the moment steak is so expensive so I try and get the cheapest cut and the biggest steak.
"I'll spend $10 bucks on a massive rump and I'll get that just purely just for the meat and have it with veggies.
"I feel a lot better and can recover quicker. That's definitely helped me along with the training."
After years of promising to become a breakout star, Paseka feels like he is finally realising the potential of a frame that received interest from NFL scouts.
He says he has found confidence in the coaching of Anthony Seibold and, after 89 NRL games, is becoming accustomed to the art of front-row play.
"This is my sixth year and you tend to learn things, I know I've got to be consistent," Paseka said.
"I've got confidence and I'm using my ability and size.
"We've got a huge challenge on Sunday because they (Canberra) have got one of the best forward packs.
"It's good playing against them because you learn by playing against the best."
Paseka was born in New Zealand to Tongan parents but was raised in Sydney.
While a call-up for NSW's State of Origin side may pass him by this year, he has his eyes set on featuring on Tonga's three-Test tour of England in October.
"It's been a hard pack to crack because the forward depth with Tonga is so good," Paseka said.
"There's so many good middles and every time I play against one of those boys, I try and lift."