Curtis Rona credits the calming influence of Canterbury coach Des Hasler with his amazing rise up the NRL try-scoring ranks.
Rona leads the season’s try-scoring list with 16 four-pointers in 14 games including four doubles.
While he was wowed crowds with his aerial skills and around-the-corner put-downs – including a particularly memorable effort against Penrith last weekend – just one year ago he was facing an uncertain future and was off-contract with North Queensland.
He says never in his wildest dreams did he think he would have so quickly established himself as the game’s most prolific try-scorer and amongst its best wingers.
However after making a pre-season switch to Belmore he says he feels like he’s found a home and it’s largely thanks to Hasler.
“I didn’t know what was going to happen,” Rona said.
“It’s hard to predict with football, you could be anywhere in six weeks.
“I just put my best foot forward and I knew coming to this club how proud and how great it is and with Des and all the other boys here that it’s a world-class team.
“I just knew I made the right decision and I never looked back.”
After debuting for North Queensland last season he managed just seven games in his first year before signing a two-year deal with the Bulldogs.
It’s easy to forget that the 23-year-old is just 21 games into his career.
He says little pressure was applied to him by Hasler upon his arrival and that was showing in his footy.
“I think he’s moulded me over the pre-season,” he said.
“He’s let me do what I do best and really given me time to build into a new team. He hasn’t pressured me in any way.
“But he’s really calm when it comes down to it and if you get the one-per-centers right and know your role then everything falls into place.”