Kelepi Tanginoa during manly Sea Eagles training at Narabeen. He will make his debut this week in Round 1. Picture. Phil Hillyard
Kelepi Tanginoa during manly Sea Eagles training at Narabeen. He will make his debut this week in Round 1. Picture. Phil Hillyard

Manly to unleash NRL’s strongest man

MEET the man giving Marty Taupau a run for his money in the gym and making a play for the title of rugby league's strongest man.

Manly forward Kelepi Tanginoa has forced his way onto Manly's interchange bench for Friday's round-one clash with Newcastle at a packed McDonald Jones Stadium after some impressive preseason performances.

"He has most of the club records, he has broken them all," Sea Eagles teammate Addin Fonua-Blake said.

Standing at just 180cm and weighing 103kg, second-rower Tanginoa has bench pressed 185kg but could "easily" push through the 200kg barrier, according to Manly's head of physical performance, Dan Ferris.

He can dead lift a staggering 300kg and also completed a 260kg back squat just last week.

Tanginoa's name is all over the Sea Eagles' gymnasium honour board and left teammates, used to seeing powerhouse Taupau dominate in the gym, stunned.

Tanginoa could challenge Martin Taupau as league’s strongest man.
Tanginoa could challenge Martin Taupau as league’s strongest man.

Manly have tapped into Tanginoa's incredible natural strength, partnering him alongside 190cm, 112kg monster Taupau in the gym

Ferris believes Tanginoa, who played 17 NRL games for Parramatta and North Queensland before joining the Sea Eagles last year, could surpass Taupau's 190kg bench press.

"Kelepi is our strongest now, pound for pound, he is a powerhouse," Ferris said.

"He could have a 200kg bench press easily if we pushed it."

Fonua-Blake added: "He won't tell you the truth, I think he out-lifts Marty. Kelepi is the best in the team for lifting weights.

"He is strong, powerful and fast, he's a big block of units. I know he could lift 200kg easily."

Having failed to lock down a regular first-grade position, despite debuting for Parramatta in 2013, the Sea Eagles believe they've found the key to unlocking Tanginoa's potential.

"He is the type of athlete you can't put a limit on," Ferris said.

Tanginoa joined Manly midway through last season.
Tanginoa joined Manly midway through last season.

"From day one he turned up and absolutely ripped in.

"Him and Marty go back and forth and push each other. It's been great for Marty to have some competition actually. We have pushed them both this year and Kelepi has shone through. He has increased his strength and his fitness.

"Marty is definitely one of our strongest but right alongside him now is Kelepi, who has a natural strength but also trains well. He had that raw potential, we just had to capture it."

Tanginoa, 24, said he was driven in the gym by Taupau.

"I like to train with Marty a lot, he is so strong, such a big bloke," Tanginoa said. "He pushes me to lift more and we keep each other competitive. He is the strongest in the NRL.

"I have lifted 185kg. Marty lifts the same, maybe a bit more. I have tried to knuckle down this pre-season. I feel as fit and strong as I ever have.

"Strength plays a big part of our game in the middle. You have to have strength and power. It's vital. I pride my game on running hard and tackling hard.

"It would be good to run out against Newcastle. I want to take this opportunity. I have been on the fringes of the NRL for a couple of years so I haven't 'got there' yet. I want to take it with both hands and go all out.

"I want to prove to myself that I deserve to have a spot and to show my ability. I want to do my thing. I just want to rip in with a bit of heart, that's all that matters to me."



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