Stat Attack: How Harris beat dreaded Storm syndrome
Tohu Harris has shaken off both Stephen Kearney's jokes and the dreaded 'Storm syndrome' that has seen plenty of his Melbourne teammates fall away since leaving Craig Bellamy's five-star stable.
After an injury-interrupted 2017 that started with a four-year commitment to the Warriors and ended with grand final triumph in his last game for the Storm, Harris has hit the ground running as one of the Telstra Premiership's form back-rowers at his new club.
With the Warriors camped in the top four Harris's ball-playing has come to the fore since his move across the ditch, laying on six line breaks and three tries for his teammates down the right edge.
The Kiwi international's work rate has stayed on par with his tireless efforts across five seasons at Melbourne, providing the Warriors with serious bang for the big bucks they spent to lure him back across the ditch.
It hasn't always been the case with recruits out of Bellamy's famed Storm systems.
The likes of Adam Blair, Ryan Hoffman, Dane Neilsen, Sisa Waqa and Kevin Proctor have all struggled at times, for numerous reasons and under various circumstances, after rising to prominence at Melbourne.
Harris though has bucked the trend, using the same mantra that makes the Victorian franchise the most professional in rugby league.
"I never really bought into that," Harris says when asked about a potential form drop-off after departing Melbourne.
"I always think if my form is not good enough, then I'm not working hard enough.
"That's the mantra at the Storm. If you're not in good form, you work harder to dig yourself out of that hole. That's how I think, that's what I believe.
"If I go somewhere I'm not used to and don't perform, it's not because of that place or the people around me, it's going to be myself.
"That's who the form comes from, good or bad. I never had any worries about that, I just thought I've got to go there and work as hard as I can and try and fit in as well as I can."
Harris is unfazed by Kearney's ribbings in team meetings these days as well.
As Kiwi coach one of Kearney's favourite gags was to throw to his church-mouse quiet second-rower, asking if he had anything to add. Harris typically had only one answer.
"He used to pull that, not so much this year because he's got to be careful with what I come back with," Harris grins.
"Mooks used to think he was pretty funny."
Enticing Harris out of Bellamy's fold, Kearney came bearing more than jokes. He "presented and an opportunity" as the 26-year-old puts it.
From the outside looking in, Harris has taken him up on it. Word around Warriors' HQ is that Harris is only getting louder as he warms to his new surroundings.
"My wife will tell you that I've always been a talker, but I guess I've had those thoughts about picking my moments to speak," Harris tells NRL.com.
"With all the leaders at Melbourne you can get comfortable with that aspect of the game and you don't have to speak as much with all those other guys.
"My wife has helped a lot, she's always encouraged me to speak more and she's tried to bring that out in me.
"If I see things I try to speak up rather than let it go, Mooks, Greeny (five-eighth Blake Green) and all the other leaders they encourage me too."