Leota promises to step up in wake of injuries at Penrith

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Moses Leota. Photo: Melinda Jane

Panthers interchange forward Moses Leota says it’s time for him to step up in the wake of recent major injuries to fellow props Sam McKendry and Tim Browne.

With Penrith’s forward stocks taking an unfortunate hit early in the season, the St Marys junior is looking forward to accepting longer minutes and rising to the challenge of being a big game forward.

“What happened to Tim Browne and Sam McKendry was a really big blow for the club,” Leota told the Weekender.

“I’ll have to step up and show that I really want their spot and those extra minutes.

“While it’s going to be a long and hard season for me, I reckon I can get through it. It excites me.”

Since debuting in 2016, Leota has been in and out of Anthony Griffin’s first grade side for a variety of reasons including fitness and form.

Moses Leota playing against the Bulldogs. Photo: Megan Dunn

So far, he’s featured in two of Penrith’s three games in 2018.

The 22-year-old Kiwi said he set himself some simple goals for the season.

“I want to play regular first grade, play consistent footy and show the boys that I’m one of the players that they would be proud to play alongside,” he said.

“To achieve this, I just need to work hard and keep doing my job in the middle. I just need to do all the little things that can help get us the win.”

The former brick layer has a massive job on his hands on Thursday when he goes head to head with one of the fiercest forward packs in the competition.

Moses Leota chatting with the Weekender’s Nathan Taylor. Photo: Melinda Jane

At training this week, Leota was relishing the opportunity of doing battle against the likes of Jason Taumalolo, Matt Scott and Jordan McLean.

“I’ve watched Taumalolo since I was young. He’s a great athlete and has everything a big man needs,” he said.

With Penrith down on big men who can get down and dirty, Leota will need to help carry the load more than ever before.

Nathan Taylor

Nathan Taylor is the Western Weekender’s award-winning sports journalist. Nathan is also the Weekender’s Deputy Editor.

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