Big Sam isn't so big any more
RUGBY LEAGUE: NRL defences can breathe a sight of relief. Sam Kasiano, once a 130kg wrecking ball labelled "Dogzilla", looks barely recognisable this summer after a sensational weight loss.
The Canterbury forward's new look is down to hard work on the training paddock in pre-season, as well as more discipline in his diet.
Famous for setting records in the kebab shop, where he has eaten seven in one sitting, Kasiano is now pushing personal bests in the gym.
The 26-year-old recently shared a picture of a group of Bulldogs players on Instagram, which he labelled "the extras crew".
Such a name is usually afforded to those players who have enjoyed the off-season a little too much and are forced to join what is more commonly known as The Fat Club.
But there's no sign of Kasiano.
He hasn't been forced to attend extra fitness sessions to shed any excess weight. He's doing it purely by choice.
Kasiano was recently married in Samoa and pictures that emerged on social media show his new slimline physique.
With the NRL restricting the number of interchanges all the time, the limited minutes Kasiano's hulking frame restricted him to became a liability. But those days are no longer.
Now Kasiano will be able to spend extended time on-field in the hope the carnage he brings to defensive lines will continue for longer periods.
In fact, the New Zealand international could become the X-factor the Bulldogs have been missing in recent seasons.
Kasiano could even shift wider to the second-row, allowing him to expose opposition defences on the edge of the ruck against his still imposing frame.
He has one of the best off-loads in the game and if his lighter figure grants him some new explosiveness, Kasiano could help light up a side that has been blunted in attack in recent seasons.
Given Kasiano's new look, perhaps Bulldogs coach Des Hasler has found the missing ingredient he drastically needs this season.