'Too many beers': Harawira-Naera's new focus paying off

"Beers, beers and more beers."

It's the infamous line Sydney Roosters rookie Victor Radley shouted when asked how he planned to celebrate his maiden NRL premiership in 2018.

Across town and Canterbury back-rower Corey Harawira-Naera had been guilty of already enjoying a few too many over the course of the season.

The difference was the former Panthers forward didn't have a grand final ring to show for it.

"I'm looking after myself a lot better after a game than last year," Harawira-Naera told NRL.com.

"I probably enjoyed myself too much by having a few too many beers that probably didn't help in the long run because I got complacent and stopped doing important things.

"This year I don't have the urge to drink as much. I think it's a mental thing, I'd rather play league and have a good day the next day feeling fresh than hungover or sleep deprived."

Whether it was about leaving the Panthers to get out of his comfort zone after four seasons or simply accept a more lucrative offer at Belmore, the 24-year-old has found moving away from Penrith the change required to sort out his off-field tendencies.

He opted to have groin surgery in the off-season instead of making himself available for the Kiwis' tour of the UK last season despite being named in a train-on squad.

He also relocated to Parramatta – central to Belmore and not too far from his former Penrith surroundings, where his young son continues to live.  

"My debut year in 2017 was a real buzz and I got up for everything but last year coming back from shoulder surgery and then doing my groin I was a bit behind and it wasn't my best," Harawira-Naera said.

"I didn't look after my body and it come down to myself. It's been a really challenging move from getting to know everyone and then on the field we've all got our different styles that we're trying to be on the same page."

Despite living in Australia for five years, Harawira-Naera says homesickness is something that continues to plague him. His younger sister Kiani will move from New Zealand to Australia next week.

"She's a year younger than me so we'll clash," he said.

"I haven't had a whole lot of family in Australia since I moved over as a teenager so I've always felt a bit isolated. I was finding it hard by myself but she'll be good company."