Tackling truck tyres secret to Lewis's defensive steel
Lachlan Lewis has his uncle Wally to thank for a surname synonymous with rugby league royalty, but it's his grandfather and an endless barrage of truck tyres behind the young Bulldog's ability to cut some of the NRL's biggest timber in two.
Lewis is fast making a name of his own after six first grade appearances, producing his best NRL performance yet as Canterbury torched Brisbane's top four hopes on Thursday night.
Stepping into the breach brought about by Kieran Foran's season-ending toe injury, Lewis has barely put a foot wrong at the top level, especially when it comes to his defence on forwards who regularly outweigh the 90-kilo half by 15-20 kg.
A couple of shots on fellow ex-Canberra product Tevita Pangai jnr in particular caught the eye during the Bulldogs resounding upset, with Lewis revealing his grandfather's homespun tackling drills - where from the age of five he'd shape up to a moving truck tyre rolled down the hill at him – as the secret to his defence afterwards.
"When we were really little we didn't have too much money so we used to roll out inflatable tyres, the inner ring and you'd have to tackle with your head in the right spot," Lewis said.
"I think I owe a lot to that. And just mental toughness and (being) willing to put my body on the line I guess. That was instilled in me at a young age and I guess I'm just keeping my technique up.
"They'd be about three foot tall and you get the belly of them, the soft part, you roll that out and then we'd hang it up in the backyard and I'd have to pass through it. I did that until I was about 13.
"It was like tackling a big boppa. You learn pretty quick that way."
Lewis has proven one of the finds of the season in an otherwise forgettable campaign for Canterbury.
With a two-year Bulldogs extension signed off on recently, the 21-year-old is making himself comfortable in Dean Pay's starting line-up after his famous surname first garnered attention when he started making Queensland's junior representative sides.
While proud of the connection to his Immortal uncle, Lewis has no less than four footballing elders, which includes dad and former Wynnum Manly half Scott, to call upon for advice.
And taking pride of place in the family roll call after each game are Lewis's grandparents, who played their own role in his rugby league upbringing.
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"That's one of the most humbling things out of the last six weeks," he said.
"To be able call my grandparents and I would've missed two calls already from Jim and June Lewis - to be able to hear they've watched the game and think that I've played alright. Doing them proud is very humbling.
"It's a huge testament to my grandparents. They've bred four boys, there's definitely something in the genes but they're built tough.
"They don't complain too much and they've got plenty to complain about. They're hard-nut people but that's the most humbling thing for me."