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Teenage mates Fotuaika and Fifita with NRL at their mercy

If you want to feel inadequate as a middle-aged man, standing next to David Fifita is a pretty effective way of going about it.

The young Bronco behemoth gives the impression that he is growing new muscles as he talks to you and that if he so desired he could simply ball his enormous fist and squash you into the ground.

Titans tyro Moeaki Fotuaika is less physically imposing and speaks so gently you can't help but lean in to listen, which only serves to make him an even scarier proposition.

You know what they say, it's the quiet ones you have to watch out for.

Along with Payne Haas they represent the three most outstanding forward prospects in the game yet it was less than three years ago that they were running roughshod over schoolboy teams together with Keebra Park High.

The team was so good that Fotuaika – with Haas and Thomas Mikaele the starting front-rowers – was consigned to a bench role but when round one comes around he'll almost certainly be part of the Titans' 17 against Canberra.

Fifita dedicates try to grandfather

The good friends may not cross paths when the Titans host the Broncos in Saturday's final trial at Cbus Super Stadium but if Fifita happens to drift into the middle, Fotuaika will be waiting.

"It's a weird feeling. A couple of years ago we were going to school together and now we're living out our dream and coming up against each other," said the 19-year-old Titans prop who made his debut in round nine last year and went on to play 16 games.

"We're good mates but once you get on the field you've just got to put that friendship away and try and get into each other.

"Hopefully he doesn't run into the middle but we'll see once the game comes."

Fotuaika's first NRL game in the starting team was against Fifita's Broncos in round 17; the result, an embarrassing 34-0 shut-out at their home ground.

Junior teammates at Souths-Logan Magpies, Fotuaika and Fifita would discuss what life may hold for them on train rides from Brisbane to Keebra Park.

Once they hit the training paddock Fotuaika would challenge himself by competing against teammates he says were destined to "make it".

Just days after turning 18 last November he was throwing seasoned NRL stars around like annoying younger cousins and continues to impress players with his physical prowess.

"Moe's a beast," says star recruit Tyrone Peachey. "He's got all the weight records in the gym and is real powerful on the field.

"He's a big boy and he's strong but he's got a good motor on him too so he goes well at training."

Titans forward Moeaki Fotuaika.
Titans forward Moeaki Fotuaika. ©

It's nothing that Fifita hasn't seen before.

"He's always been strong but he's come a long way," says Fifita, 101 days Fotuaika's junior.

"He was always trying to better himself. He's a real humble kid and real strong, a real hard trainer.

"It's really exciting playing against the boys that you came through the system with at school all the way from Year 8 to Year 12 and watching them progress.

"He's progressed really well into a really good athlete and hopefully we both have a good game on the weekend."

When the pair next meet in round 13 at Suncorp Stadium Haas will be eligible for Broncos selection and three mates from school will have the rugby league world at their mercy.

Acknowledgement of Country

National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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