Melbourne Storm second-rower Felise Kaufusi is itching to take the field in the club’s second trial game against the Cowboys at BB Print Stadium in Mackay on Saturday.
After a grinding pre-season and having watched from the sidelines during last week’s trial against the Warriors in Geelong, the Origin and Test representative said he was excited to finally play some football.
“It has been a tough pre-season – as always – but we have started to taper off which is nice,” he said.
“When the trials come along everyone starts to have a smile on their face again because we are all excited to play.
“I’m just looking forward to trying to play some good footy and get some good minutes under my belt.”
The 26-year-old said it was “tough” being a spectator last week given the frequent handling errors which affected the young Storm squad’s performance – something the side has been working on improving during the off-season.
“(As a spectator) you have the time to analyse the game more,” he said.
“(Ball handling) has been a big focus for us but I think there were a few cobwebs and a couple of guys were playing out of position.
“At the end of the day it’s up to the individual to make sure they are catching the ball and being disciplined.”
He said despite the disappointing 18 from 36 completion rate, a few rising stars had impressed in the first pre-season clash, creating a stronger competition for spots in the back row.
“I liked (Scott) Drinkwater, I thought he was pretty sharp and pretty quick up the back,” he said.
“We have a number of talented young guys coming through and I think it’s always healthy to have that competition – you can’t get complacent and expect to be in the top squad every week.
“(At Storm) selection is not a given - you’re selected on effort and if you’re not working hard enough you’ll get dropped to the reserve grades.”
He said 18-year-old powerhouse Tino Fa’Asuamaleaui was looming large and would soon be pushing for a second-row position.
“Tino is one of the guys I need to look out for, he's coming for my spot," he said.
"He’s fast, powerful and he’s strong in the gym.
“He’s certainly keeping me on my toes.”