Taupau not happy with bench spot
His time on the field in the Four Nations final only lasted 22 minutes but it was the best quarter of a game aggressive Wests Tigers prop Martin Taupau has ever played.
His breakout performance in the Four Nations final – where he broke five tackles, ran for 104 metres and left plenty of experienced Kangaroos looking for cover - is the benchmark the five-Test Kiwi wants to work on moving forward, because simply put, he isn't happy starting on the bench.
"It was [the best performance of my career]. It was crazy. There was a lot of adrenalin pumping through my body," Taupau told NRL.com.
"In terms of laying the platform for the Kiwis, the final was amazing for me.
"Now I'm not content [on the bench] here at the Tigers. I'd love to be in a starting position. I've been looking to improve more."
While Keith Galloway and Aaron Woods seemingly have the inside running for the Tigers top prop spots, Taupau insists his aggression can be easily transferred depending on whether he starts in the 13 or from the interchange bench.
Ready to show his worth as a starting forward, Taupau has also taken it upon himself to change his style of play if it means it will be beneficial for him moving forward.
An opportunity may be present in the back-row for the 25-year-old too, considering the departures of Adam Blair, Braith Anasta, Bodene Thompson, Liam Fulton and Cory Paterson from the club.
"The aggression isn't going anywhere for me because I'm very competitive. It's always going to be within me and it's just about controlled aggression," Taupau said.
"Now it's more about maintaining my fitness and looking out for the body because my aggression is one of the key ingredients in the way I play. I'm an impact player.
"That's what I've been working on in the pre-season, but you know I have to broaden my horizons and mix up my game. I don't want to be a battering ram for any team so I want to mix up my game and go from there.
"It's a long term goal for myself to be more versatile and to be able to play anywhere in the forwards."
With the Tigers expected to give game time to rookies Lamar Liolevave, Salesi Funaki and Brenden Santi, an opportunity has presented itself to Taupau in terms of becoming more of a leader at the club in 2015.
After making 45 appearances in the NRL, Taupau is especially keen to help the Tigers' young Pacific Islander kids grow in both a personal and playing capacity.
"Being an Islander myself, we're really shy and like to keep to ourselves, so I'd like to bring the boys out of their comfort zone and get them to express themselves," Taupau said.
"I'm not so much a talking-type of leader though. I do a bit of talking one-on-one to the boys here and there but I'd rather show on the field what I can do and lead by example."