Paasi not scared of anyone
Rampaging Titans forward Agnatius Paasi has set the scene for an explosive opening to Friday night's showdown with the Eels at Cbus Super Stadium by vowing to pick out the biggest Parramatta player in his sights and running straight at them.
The Eels boast some of the most ferocious defenders in the game with the likes of Manu Ma'u, Suaia Matagi and Tepai Moeroa in the starting side but they hold no fears for Paasi who has made his mark charging headlong into defences ever since he watched Iafeta Paleaaesina do the same for the Warriors and New Zealand 15 years ago.
After disastrous starts against the Roosters and Knights, Paasi has been called into the starting team by Titans coach Neil Henry to bring much-needed energy from the kick-off, a kick-off that the 25-year-old hopes is directed straight at him.
 Telstra Premiership: Agnatius Paasi
Hit Ups, All Run Metres, Minutes Played.
And if you thought there was a science to running at a particular shoulder of a defender or any sense of self-preservation by picking out the smallest player in the band of chasers, Paasi says it all goes out the window as soon as he gets the ball in his hands.
"If we get the kick-off then I'll put my hand up to take the first charge but if we do kick off then I'll put my hand up to do the first tackle too. Either way if I do start I'll bring that energy to the beginning," Paasi told NRL.com.
"When I get the ball I just look up and whoever I see that's where I run to. We have reviews and they tell us where to run and get to a spot but when I get the ball I just look up and charge full speed ahead.
"Whoever is in front, big, small, it doesn't worry me. I like to run more at the big blokes but whoever's in front.
"I just think about trying to bump them off and try to get through the other side. There's no fear when I run like that but if I get smashed maybe the fear comes after that.
"But when I get smashed, that's when I keep doing it and just hype the boys up."
That Paasi is playing against the Eels at all on Friday night is a testament to how far he has come since being discarded by the Warriors at the end of the 2014 season and arriving on the Gold Coast on a 'train and trial' contract overweight and looking anything like an NRL regular.
Paasi had shoulder surgery in the off-season and with his arm in a sling struggled to juggle 1-year-old Agnatius Jnr along with elder son Manatoa and the only cardio work he could do for the first month was on the stationary bike.
But where the Paasi of old may have cut corners and over-indulged, he resumed full training just two kilograms over his target weight and did extra work in the gym so that he could line up in Round 1 against the Roosters.
Without any pre-season trials he played 42 minutes in Round 1 and with injuries decimating the team punched out 68 against the Knights last week, running for 151 metres with 24 tackles and two offloads.
The quietly-spoken battering ram admits that in his third season with the club he is even beginning to feel confident enough to speak up amongst the senior players in the squad.
"I'm definitely trying to learn off the senior boys and say what I have to say at the right time," Paasi said.
"I'm kind of feeling like a senior player but I've just got to show them out there on the paddock that if I do my job that's what they care about most."