Dogzilla shrinking into Storm thriller
WHEN Sam Kasiano arrived on Melbourne's doorstep five weeks ago to begin life as a Stormer he tipped the scales at 136 kilograms.
That's not unusual for a man standing at 195 centimetres tall who makes a living from knocking blokes on their backside.
When foxsports.com.au rang Kasiano for an interview on Tuesday, the scales in the club's gym read 128 kilograms.
He had shed eight kilos off his hulking frame in his first five weeks in the southern capital.
And the shredding won't stop there.
"Right now I'm about 128, my goal is 125," Kasiano explained.
"Got three to go ... maybe I'll try to (lose) a few more if I can."
The man formerly known as Dogzilla explains how he's reshaping his body - and his game - under NRL supercoach Craig Bellamy.
Kasiano has never been shy to admit his eating habits left a bit to be desired for an athlete playing football at the elite level.
Trips through the McDonalds drive-through on the way home from training were far too regular during his time at the Bulldogs.
"At Canterbury I was pretty much eating whatever I wanted," he laughs.
But he was an impact player whose role was to barge through opposition defences. It didn't matter if he was carrying a few extra kilos.
His attitude changed when he was due to be married at the end of 2016, and he decided to slim down for the wedding. That and to impress Des Hasler.
Kasiano shed 13 kilos and returned to Belmore looking like a new man.
But now he has to do it all again to reach his goal playing weight of 125 kilograms.
His diet is in stark contrast to what it was 18 months ago.
"Before I go to training I'll have poached eggs on toast with avocado," Kasiano explained.
"Then lunch time the club provides lunch, so I'll eat whatever they make.
"For dinner the (wife) has been cooking me all the chicken, steak, veges, stuff like that.
"More veges than meat ... I'm loving it now but."
The diet has taken deliberate planning from Kasiano.
Showing initiative, he approached the Melbourne trainers to help map out a plan that will help him achieve his Storm slim-down.
"All the trainers here are unbelievable. They've been helping me with what to eat, when to eat, all that stuff," he said.
"I've been asking them, I've been going to them and asking what I should eat, and they've been really good."
BELLAMY'S BOOT CAMP
Kasiano says the first five weeks of pre-season have been "tough".
It's about to get a whole lot tougher.
On Monday all the Storm recruits will get on a bus and be driven to Bellamy's famed pre-season boot camp.
The three-day getaway is torture, designed to mentally steel the new Stormers and sort the contenders from the pretenders.
There's the rude 3am wake-up calls to trudge endlessly around a track in pitch darkness with a 20-kilogram pack on your back. All the while being yelled at by military hard-nuts intent on breaking you down.
It's bested some of the toughest blokes in rugby league. And Kasiano admits it's one of the most daunting things he'll ever do.
"I've heard a lot of things. The boys, I think they're just trying to make us all scared," he said.
"You get nervous but you've just got to do it.
"We did like a Navy Seal one with the Dogs so I guess it will be similar to that. I think it's more mental, to see if you're mentally tough.
"I can't wait (laughs)."
One of the boys winding him up about next week's boot camp is former Bulldogs teammate Dale Finucane.
And now he's able to sit back and watch the Storm newcomers sweat and shake at the horror stories told around the gym.
"It always comes around this time of year when all the new boys haven't been on the camp yet," Finucane told foxsports.com.au.
"Questions start popping up and they start getting really nervous, asking what should I bring, what should I do, what to expect.
"I think everyone gives a bit of cheek to build it up worse than it is.
"I'm sure big Sammy will be fine."
DOGZILLA TO STORM THRILLER
A new diet. A brutal new pre-season regimen. A new club, teammates, and coach.
Rugby league fans could witness a new Sam Kasiano in 2018.
He'll be playing with at least 10 less kilograms on his frame, and he hopes that will allow his game time to increase.
Bellamy asked him how many minutes he wanted to play next season. Kasiano said he wanted to start with a base of 40 minutes per game, and hopefully increase that over the course of the season.
The last time he averaged more than 40 minutes was in 2012. It was his best season in the NRL and he was crowned Dally M Prop of the Year.
Since then he hasn't averaged more than 33 minutes across a season with the Bulldogs.
In 2012, he weighed in at 128 kilos.
Finucane is expecting big things from his born-again fitness freak friend.
"Since I've been back watching him train and learning the players, learning the ins and outs of our club, he's really flourished and he's going really well," Finucane said.
"I think he'll have a great season. He is looking in really good shape and I think he'll have a really good year."
But while his minutes will be up and his skinfolds down, Kasiano isn't planning to completely overhaul his game.
He'll be sticking to the three basic instructions that have shaped his career to date - run hard. Run straight. Offload.