A trimmed-down and smiling Issac Luke is eyeing a return to playing 80 minutes in the middle as the hooker continues his impressive start to 2018.
Once regarded as one of the best dummy-half runners in the Telstra Premiership during his time with the South Sydney Rabbitohs, Luke's first three seasons in Auckland have not been up to the same impressive standard.
The veteran rake has been one of the standout performers for the Warriors in their opening two wins of the year and says he has his sights set on playing an even bigger role.
"I want to get back to playing 80 minutes but, I know I have to earn that," he said.
Luke played the full 80 for coach Stephen Kearney in the 20-8 last-start win over the Gold Coast Titans after Isaiah Papali'i went down with a knee injury eight minutes into the match.
"It's no secret I want to try and push those 80-minute games out," Luke said.
"It's something me and Stephen have talked about but in saying that, I want to do what's best for the team first and foremost and if that means carrying one forward on the bench and giving me a break then I'm cool with that.
Match: Raiders v Warriors
Round 3 -
Venue: GIO Stadium
- Fox League
- LIVE PASS
"The competition here at hooker with Jazz (Tevaga), Manaia (Cherrington) and obviously Sam Cook as well, we have been able to push each other throughout the pre-season, which has been great for my game."
Kearney has selected Tevaga in the No.14 jersey for the round three clash with the Canberra Raiders on Saturday, which means Luke will probably get a spell at some stage during the match.
Luke said the Warriors pack would have to be at their best to contain the "big boys up front" for Canberra, particularly the likes of heavyweight props Shannon Boyd and Junior Paulo.
"We faced a big pack in South Sydney two weeks ago and we know Canberra will be eager to get back home and do a job. It will be a big challenge."