NRL: The extra motivation driving Manly enforcer Martin Taupau
Manly enforcer Martin Taupau has played at the highest level for 11 years and represented his club and country, but there is one box he is yet to tick.
Taupau will be chasing his first finals win when he plays in his 200th NRL game in Friday’s semi-final against the Sydney Roosters.
The closest the former New Zealand Test representative has come to winning a finals game was back in 2012 under his current coach Des Hasler at Canterbury.
Sadly, for Taupau, he was overlooked for the Bulldogs’ finals campaign despite performing strongly leading into the playoffs.
Eight seasons on, the Kiwi prop has another chance to claim a finals win when the Sea Eagles take on the Roosters.
“It is a pretty cool situation that I’m in,” Taupau said.
“It (not winning a finals game) is not a coincidence because I always say everything happens for a reason, but for me my sole focus is going in and winning our semi-final game.
“Then I guess the celebrations will come after that.”
Taupau’s first focus is helping Manly make amends for last weekend’s poor loss to Melbourne.
The Sea Eagles were no match for the methodical Storm, and they must improve to defeat the Roosters.
For Taupau, he knows his front-row match-up against Roosters big man Jared Waerea-Hargreaves will go a long way to deciding Friday’s semi-final.
“Every game for me is personal,” he said.
“Jared is their man that they (the Roosters) look upon to be their enforcer, but for us we are all solely focused on what we can bring as individuals and as a collective group.
“I believe we can definitely make some huge movements.”
Taupau may be locked in on this weekend’s game, but he is also leaving space in his brain to appreciate his 200th NRL game milestone.
He has even taken the time to reflect on his journey from Auckland, Canterbury, the Wests Tigers and now Manly.
“It’s funny, the wife and I were reminiscing on the old Bulldogs photos,” he said.
“I suppose the only thing that hasn’t changed is the size of my arms.
“That isn’t a brag (laughs).
“Other than that, I’m really grateful for the journey that I’ve been on and the position that I’m now in.
“I guess for me personally 200 games is a huge achievement, not only for me, but also for my family and friends that have been there in support over the years.”
Originally published as NRL: The extra motivation driving Manly enforcer Martin Taupau
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